Monday, October 23, 2017

Big in Japan



Up Close and Personal with a Giant Enema

They say that in Japan there is a mascot for virtually everything and I think Ichijiku, the Japanese pharmaceutical company specializing in enemas, has proven it.

This Friday Ichijiku’s penguinesque  enema-shaped  mascot, Kan-chan, made a rare public appearance at an upscale shopping emporium in downtown Tokyo and I was there to meet it. The drug company’s Twitter account says that Kan-chan “has plans to go many different places.” To be honest, before Friday, I could only think of one. Now after getting up close and personal with the company mascot I have to say that it could brighten up just about any dark corner. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Tokyo's Trump Tower: It's a House of Cards

Trump Tower in Ota Ward, Tokyo



While some may think no urban landscape is complete without one, it was completely surprising to spy this not-too-tony tower dubbed "Trump" tucked away in a kind of quiet little corner of Tokyo. This city spire was erected in 2014 and its owner (who is, by the way, not the 45th president of the United States) claims the building's nomenclature is derived from the Japanese word for playing cards, "trump." Meaning, if you haven't figured it out by now, Trump Tower Tokyo is a house of cards.

P.S. Now ICYMI, there is an entire city in Japan called Obama (but don't tell President Trump).

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Where Have All the Protesters Gone?

All Quiet on the Anti-War Front
It's mostly the sound of crickets coming from the grassroots.

If you’ve picked up the paper this week, you might have come to the disturbing conclusion that the U.S. is marching ever closer to the brink of a devastating war with North Korea... (Read on in the Japan Times).

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Man of Letters


"A man of letters," that's me - in the Japan Times anyway. Here's my most recent epistle to the editor:


Firms, pay heed to where your ads show up


After reading the Feb. 13 story, “Weaponized buying as shoppers weigh boycott calls over firms’ political stands,” I ventured into the minefield known as Breitbart News.
Although the article described Breitbart as a conservative news and opinion website formerly run by Trumps chief strategist, its largely viewed as a gateway site for the alt-right and a sort of primer for would-be white supremacists. It has earned the moniker of hate site, for what many recognize as its incendiary mix of racism, xenophobia and more, all topped off with the burning fuse of fake news.
When I got to the site for my look-see I was a little surprised to find a SoftBank ad aimed at... (read on in the Japan Times).












Saturday, January 28, 2017

Embattled


This battered yet imposing structure reminds me of Nagasaki, Japan's famed Gunkanjima (Battleship Island), an abandoned industrial fortress where workers once lived and harvested coal from mines beneath the sea. While Nagasaki's Gunkanjima is now a tourist destination and a frequent backdrop for science fiction movies depicting a dystopian future, our town's little Gunkanjima still at least seems to be home to employees of the adjacent factory it stands watch over.