The Year of the Tiger in Retrospect
Thursday, December 30 2010 @ 03:25 AM JST
Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto
The tiger looks
unwilling to step
aside for the
This is how I look back on the year 2010.
Just Awaiting My Turn
Time flies, indeed. Two years ago my health started to deteriorate dramatically. Initially I thought I had to take specific actions to prepare myself to say goodbye to all in a decent way. On second thought, however, I realized that it doesn't make any difference whether or not my I exit looks graceful. I just perish, and that's it.
Now my only problem is that the progress of the constant worsening of my incurable ailments is too slow to tolerate. As a result, I have grown impatient more than ever with things and people, especially when they waste my limited time.
Even when in business I was always irritated by my Japanese colleagues
who were invariably dull-witted as fluorescent lamps. One day I blamed one of my direct reports for his goof, though in a roundabout way. The
next morning, he showed up in my office and said, "Your criticism
is something like a time bomb. It always hits me only when I go to bed.
As usual it dawned on me that you had told me to change my way of doing
things only before I fell asleep last night." It always takes time like this in this country.
The talking ATMs are also an irritant. Five years ago I told you how talkative
ATMs were in this country. Today they still remain intolerably verbose.
Especially the taped female voices always get on my nerves. When withdrawing
a small amount of money from my bank account, I normally press the "English
Conversation" button just because the voices of English speaking women
are less syrupy. Yet, at the end of my transaction, we close our conversation
Me: Yes, I'm 120% sure I have everything.
ATM: Are you sure you have everything? (Everything means the card I inserted
in her, money I withdrew from her and the voucher for the transaction.)
Me: You're welcome in advance.
ATM: Thanks for using me. I hope you'll come back soon.
Hate to See Dat Evening Sun Go Down
In a way it's saddening to find myself barking at Americans throughout
the year because it's their parents and grandparents who taught me always
to play it straight and honest.
Perhaps it's another fallout from the further worsening of my health that
I now view things unfolding on this side of heaven as if from the other
side. I'm quite confident that I am unbiased when I say Japan is a dead
nation and that America is also heading for ruin. Not that I haven't had to correct myself at times, but I'm not like those American pundits who have to
correct themselves every second day.
In December 1948 Douglas MacArthur ordered the release of Nobusuke Kishi,
one of the Class-A war criminals, from Tokyo's Sugamo Prison without giving
any explanation for the pardon. Actually, the general and his boss in Washington
intended to make Kishi pay for what he'd done in wartime with another unpardonable
crime. The CIA employed him as its undercover agent who was to serve concurrently
as Japan's Prime Minister. Just like the Shogun who was forced to swallow
the unequal Convention of Kanagawa in 1854, Kishi signed the 1960 revision
of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States
Forty-nine years later, a small group of independent journalists filed
a class action lawsuit with the Tokyo District Court, complaining the entire
security arrangement was unlawful. But judges flatly turned down the accusation while the media were determined to shut their mouths even about the mere fact that the litigation was underway. Across the Pacific,
the American people were also playing dumb. Or perhaps, they were all dumb in fact.
They have blacklisted countries such as Iran and North Korea as rogue states. I am at
a loss over where, then, to classify the United States. My vocabulary of pejorative
is too poor to describe such a shameless nation and its people who have lost self-esteem completely.
This past Christmas Day I turned 75, but it's heartening to know that there
still are some young ladies who think of me on the morning of December
25. Lara is one of them.
Over the yearend, she is staying in Los Angeles, accompanied by her husband and son, to attend a conference
being held there. On my birthday,
Lara sent me a mail in which she wrote: "The first thing that popped
up in my mind when I woke up this morning was that it's your birthday today."
Lara and I share the same wavelength because both of us are stateless at heart. We are Japanese, but only technically. It's true that we are greatly divided over how far to stress
the positive side of statelessness, but that doesn't affect our friendship
at all because we value differences and take each other very seriously.
What fosters our mutual respect is the fact that we don't give a damn about
geographical or ideological boundaries. I don't know, or don't want to
know, what political platform she subscribes to. All I know is the fact that
Lara has the sensitivity and compassion of Japanese women at their best
combined with realistic attitude toward life particular to Chinese women.
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
Throughout the year, the Japanese have remained stranded in the same insoluble
dilemma between the firstrate idiots named Yukio Hatoyama and Naoto Kan
and the topnotch bandit named Ichiro Ozawa. One year ago I suggested in this blog that someone
should take Ozawa's life, or I would have volunteered to kill the villain
myself if I'd possessed a firearm.
But in the middle of this year things took an unexpected twist. The collusive alliance formed by the administration, public prosecutors, opposition parties and mainstream media has been closing in on Ozawa over the stale issue with his violations of the Political Funds Control Law.
Some independent news organizations even speculate the CIA is behind the anti-Ozawa
campaign. The crook has been known for his preference to kowtowing to China
over keeping Japan as the docile satellite of the U.S. A recent report
by an independent newspaper has it that last month Hu Jintao invited Ozawa
for a clandestine meeting at the Yokohama hotel where the Chinese leader
was staying to attend APEC 2010. Now the infighting of the Democratic Party
of Japan seems to have turned into a proxy war between China and the U.S.
Under the circumstances, I have developed an ambivalent feeling about the
current situation with my newfound anti-American sentiment. Now the unscrupulous
politician looks shining like a hero who fights against the U.S.-sponsored
exploitative regime named the 1955 System.
Judging from his recent moves, Ozawa will most probably be able to regain lost ground over the yearend. However, that won't solve the dilemma because the two contrasting bastards are the products of one and the same sociopolitical system. It's just that Ozawa grew into a full-blown master of burglary while Kan into a stunted, small-time thief. So the ultimate dilemma will remain insoluble,
and the Japanese will remain trapped in the same cul-de-sac until they realize that the Emperor is the real root of all these evils.
That bastard in the palace is the incarnation of Kan's incompetence combined with Ozawa's craftiness. And he is still around simply because Harry S. Truman thought his father's heinous crime against the Japanese people was pardonable.
From that moment on, any sinful act has been considered forgivable. The law of the jungle will prevail until the demise of the evil empire named the United States.
To conclude my retrospection, I wish my friends all the best for
a Happy New Year.