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 like this:

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 and Japan.

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.

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