Tokyo Damage Report

Archive for July, 2011

Japan book review 9 : AMAKUDARI by Colignon and Usui

AMAZON HERE. BUY IT IF YOU LIKE IT!   They sit on the boards of directors of almost 30 percent of big companies. . .. and 58 percent of the one hundred largest private firms, so they make all the money. They occupy 40-50 percent of the board positions in large and powerful tokushu hojin […]


small shrines of sadness

When most people – foreigners OR Japanese –  think of shrines, they think of Google Image Search  images like this: or this. . .   But in my neighborhood, shrines all look like this: and this . . .! Small forlorn things, sandwiched between concrete, Western-style buildings.  The spirit world colliding with the mundane suburbs […]


Japan book review 8 : STRAITJACKET SOCIETY by Masao Miyamoto, M.D.

   I was told that this is a famous book from the ‘90s about a government whistle-blower who dares to stand up to his crooked colleagues in the bureaucracy. He dares to argue and have his own opinions. Naturally, I was expecting that he would blow the whistle about policy issues, like so: “Sir, these […]


japan book review 7a: offensive shinto vocabulary corner

This is a companion to my review of Skya's book JAPAN'S HOLY WAR. Here I'm collecting all the most offensive Shinto propaganda phrases that he used. But I'm also adding the kanji for them! A lot of these phrases are straight up terrible. But others were kind of "nice" Shinto words that got interpreted in […]


Japan book review 7: JAPAN’S HOLY WAR by Walter Skya

JAPAN’S HOLY WAR by Walter Skya   Buy it here Skya explains that, in WW2, the Italian enemy was Il Duce, the German enemy was Hitler, but the Japanese enemy was simply called “the Japs.” And this wasn’t all just racism: Japan didn’t have any obvious evil leader or evil system that the Americans could […]


influential enka in youtube form

These are the songs that Christine Yano picked out as influential in her book TEARS OF LONGING. I can't say that a Japanese would agree. But most of these are heavy as hell.   Let's start with a cover version of the 1906 hit  RAPPA BUSHI, originally written by soeda azembo     next, Sasurai […]


japan book review 6 – TEARS OF LONGING by Christine Yano

TEARS OF LONGING by Christine Yano   Enka has been called “Japanese blues”, “Japanese country and western,” and “dasai grandma music.” Enka are sad, melodramatic ballads that you karaoke the fuck out of in run-down snack-bars at 3am. If you ever bike home drunk at 3am and pass bars with terrible out of key singing gurgling out […]


Japanese book 5: THE JAPANESE MIND, Edited by Davies and Ikeno

amazon here, of course! Like the last book report – "INSIDE THE KAISHA", THE JAPANESE MIND attempts to explain Japanese behavior so as to avoid "culture shock" and misunderstandings. Unlike INSIDE THE KAISHA, THE JAPANESE MIND is a huge mess.   But!   THE JAPANESE MIND is a book that succeeds by failing! If you […]


go to Japan Subculture

If you're interested in the behind-the-scenes dirt on TEPCO and Fukushima power plant, go to japan subculture right now. Author Jake Adelstein is killing it with article after article.   Also: I'm working on a couple of things. Does anyone know any really depressing "the nail that sticks up will get hammered down" type Japanese […]


Yamamoto and artisan vs. hustle

Reading the book INSIDE THE KAISHA, and its explanation of kata (the formalized but often unspoken "one correct way" to do things at a particular company) , reminded me of another book:   A while back I translated ACTOR, the autobiography of Ryuuji Yamamoto, Japan's most famous scat-o-phile.   Section One of Mr. Yamamoto’s book deals […]