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Monday, September 9, 2013

I See Japan Got The 2020 Olympics - So What?

By reading the headlines, you can tell that my thoughts on Japan, or rather Tokyo, being awarded the 2020 Olympic Games are not all that positive.

Yeah... like many people, I enjoy the Olympics. I thought the London Games were spectacular, from the athletic events to the opening and closing shows. And China's showpiece at the end of those games points to a spectacular forthcoming effort as well.

Look... I'm sure the Tokyo Games will be great. But, ever since the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, USA, the Games have been less about the athletes and more about ego of the country hosting it.

Yes, everyone wants to win a medal and have country bragging rights. I don't begrudge the athletes that. But it's the host country - not just the city - that puts on a brave face and tries to be ego maniacal without being ego maniacal.

Japan will have no problem doing that. Japan has pride. A whole lot of pride. In fact... it's pride that has led to much of its downfall in recent years.

From a crappy economy to no longer being recognized for its home electronics industry prowess... or its robotics... to being known as that radioactive country.

Yeah... Japan and Fukushima and TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power COmpany) are all over the news in North America... and for all the wrong reasons, no matter what anyone thinks.

Japan, because of its continued mishandling of the nuclear disaster that is Fukushima, has most of the world shaking its collective head in derision.

They can't even stop radioactive waters from leaking into the ocean some two-and-a-half years after the fact.

What happened to the great geniuses?

They are in over their head and simply aren't asking for enough help. The fact that TEPCO is still even remotely involved is a joke.

But whatever.

Tokyo beat out Istanbul, Turkey and Madrid, Spain.... because the IOC (International Olympic Committee) is a joke. Madrid currently has 80% of its venues already built and used for other purposes. The costs would be a lot less... which was why of the three cities, it was the first one out. Istanbul... maybe people are afraid of the Turks as being... what, exactly? The crossroads of Asia and Europe? That would have been nice... but it wasn't enough.

Japan is a safe country?

Sure... little gun violence. The people are friendly and polite. It's clean. It already has a decent infrastructure of Olympic caliber facilities in place so there won't be much construction required.

1) It already has a decent infrastructure of Olympic caliber facilities in place so there won't be much construction required.

Didn't I just say that was a positive? Well, it's also a negative. In a country looking to kickstart a crappy economy, the construction industry is a major thing to have up. But with a lot of facilities in place, Japan (it's not really just a city that pays for things) will not get the opportunity to really revitalize the construction industry.

2) Japan is kind of up in arms with a couple of its neighbors right now... specifically China and Russia... you know... disputes about ownership of a bunch of islands... so much so that everyone is ready to go to war, or at least ready to bump ships and violate each other's air space with planes in defiant shows of force.

3) A show of force that makes Japan's leaders want to scrap its current Constitution for something more warlike. Sure the current constitution assures that people in Japan (its citizens) get a lot of rights, including women... because the one previous didn't (then again, few countries did offer women any rights)... but Japan now wants back the right to make war.. and by that I mean it wants the right to create its own army and air force and navy... things that were stripped away from it after its nastiness during WW2.

Nowadays, if Japan does need it help with defense, countries like the US are there to provide it. What's wrong with getting a little help? Ego.

4) Fukushima. Here's a part of the country so screwed up, that two years later we are still finding out new ways about how Japan is incompetent. Leaks still, but what is particularly galling is the fact that there are still many people displaced from their homes and jobs because of the March 11, 2011 9.0 Magnitude earthquake, tsunami(s) and near meltdown of a few nuclear reactors that are still leaking radioactive water into the earth and surrounding waters. The people and cities and towns of Fukushima still need money... but no... Japan and Tokyo are going to spend it over the next 6+ years to help make Tokyo look prettier than it already is... so that the rest of the world sees that Japan is a-ok. Yeah, no one in Fukushima is starving to death, but the heart of many displaced citizens is dying.

Of course, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo (surname first) did fly over to Buenos Aires, Argentina where the IOC was partying and selecting and announcing the 2020 winner, to personally state that the Fukushima radioactive thing would not pose a health risk to anyone in Tokyo. And the IOC agreed. They all celebrated with a glass of Kool-Aid brought in by Abe. Tokyo is far enough away from Fukushima that no one will ever see its ugly radioactive side.
Members of the Japanese delegation celebrate after Tokyo was awarded the 2020 Olympic Games. Photograph: Victor R. Caivano/AP. Now let's have a drink and get some hookers.
Oh yes... Japan's Olympic delegation also included a princess! And someone physically disabled... I mean challenged... I mean a paralympian. You can't vote against someone who brought in a disabled woman and a princess.

Princess Takamado, is a member of Japan's Royal family who rarely leaves the country for reasons of protocol... so this Olympic bid must have been very important to her.Yeesh.

As well, Paralympic long jumper Sato Mami, was there. Sato's home town was hit by the tsunami. She's also gorgeous, but you can't dissuade the power of a physically challenged individual... you wouldn't want the IOC to look heartless would you?

(Personally, I don't give a crap about physical challenged individuals needing special treatment. Treat'em like people, because that's what they are).

Oh... and the Prime Minister said that if Tokyo got the games, it would be a great way for Japan to thank the world for its help re: Fukushima. 

Uh... it still needs help, doesn't it?

I keep asking myself... why did the IOC really choose Japan? Was it really a good, safe choice?

The IOC is hardly a bunch of brainiacs. Some of their past choices for Olympic glory have hardly been stellar ones, hysterically and historically-speaking, of course.

Let's see... they gave Nazi Germany the Games in 1936 (Berlin) ... and the Germans a few years later tried to kill everyone in Europe. Sure... Germany was a good, safe choice. I'll have another Beer Hall Putsch, please. Yes, the 1923 vintage, please.

They gave Tokyo the summer Games and Sapporo the winter Games in 1940... but few recall that seeing as the games were called on account of black rain and WW2. Now Japan hadn't entered it yet (until December 7, 1941 when it attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii), but it had been a right royal bitch with its actions in Asia for the 1920s and 1930s. Sure... Japan was a good, safe choice.  
Canceled due to global war - even though Japan wasn't officially involved in it yet.

Oh  yes... in 1944, the IOC also awarded the winter Olympic Games to Cortina d'Ampezzo in Italy (London, Great Britain got the summer ones). Now... you might recall that in 1944, a lot of London had the crap bombed out of it by Nazi Germany during that little skirmish called WW2. And Italy? Well... they were of course the third part of that whole evil Axis of Doom (with Japan and Germany), that tried to take over the world on the battlefield, rather than the sporting arena. Sure... Italy was a good, safe choice.

The Axis... that was two fascist countries and one national socialist. Good, safe choices.

Bravo. My hand clapping sounds a lot like the clucking of my tongue, because that's what I'm doing. Tsk-tsk.

And now Japan gets the Olympics again. Yes.. since WW2, Japan has been a model global citizen, as has Italy and Germany. And there's a reason why Tokyo got the games in 1964 (a make-up for the one it lost in 1940, perhaps, owing to inclement warfare and global domination attempts). Of course Sapporo and Nagano got the winter Olympic Games in 1972 and 1998, respectively.

I should point out that Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy got their winter Games back in 1956, and Rome the summer Games in 1960 - before Japan... but that's because they weren't as mean as Japan was during WW2.

And Germany... the baddest of the Trifecta of Badness, they had to wait all the way to 1972 before Munich got it. So good things come to bad things that wait.

I'm not saying that Tokyo 2020 didn't deserve the Olympic Games over Turkey and Spain (Barcelona was nice in 1992)... well I am, actually... but aside from the IOC historically not always doing what's right (Greece has major debt, Nagano was a bust, Montreal and I think Calgary were all financial disasters), but Japan has issues within its own walls that need tending to.

I'm not saying Japan greased any wheels with the IOC, because that would be slander and libel - depending on if I said or wrote that sort of thing - because everyone knows that type of monkey-business never happens.

Just where is Japan, with a crappy economy, getting all of its money from to pay for the reconstruction of the northeast area after the March 11, 2011 trio of disasters? Is it merely printing money willy-nilly? Is that why the value of the Yen went into the crapper? And how will it pay for these Olympic Games?

And... will people come to the Games from outside of Japan? (Yeah, they will). But Japan is such an expensive trip to make and to stay at.

Japan is thinking that it should hire more JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme assistant English teachers, in an effort to further improve the English language capabilities of its youth - to make the world a better place through communication.

Okay... that's nice.

But the last time I checked, there are 204 member countries in the IOC. Many of them do speak English, so having more assistant English teachers will perhaps help...

But, many Olympic athletes and followers speak other languages... like German, and Italian to name a couple of popular warring partners. And Spanish and Portuguese, Mandarin, Hindi, Arabic, Russian, Turkish, Ukrainian, Polish, Dutch, French, Uzbek, Swahili, Khmer, Greek and maybe even whatever it is that the Australians speak.

Will Japan ask for more JET teachers to teach any of those languages or any of the other 150?

Look... I would have been very proud if Toronto ever won the right to host the Olympics, but dammit... I already spend 40-60 minutes in my car to get home from work (I leave an hour BEFORE the bad part of rush hour starts!)... and I work at around the mid-point of the city, and live on its outskirts. Can you imagine the traffic if we got the Games? The construction projects that would pop up that would screw up my commute? The subway system is not quite at Tokyo-levels yet... but what will things be like 6+ years from now? Better, right? Riiiii-iiight.

Tokyo, Japan... congratulations on winning the 2020 Olympic Games. Ganbate, kudasai (Do your best, please)... you're going to need it.

Andrew Joseph


  1. Can't argue with anything here. Your first "Negative" isn't exactly correct... They are already planning on spending over $10 BILLION dollars building crap: About Toronto getting the Olympics? Sure! I'm campaigning for you guys to win! ;)

  2. I believe Toronto was trying to get the 2012 Olympics (I have a pin)... I have pins from 1980 on up... but really, I enjoy just watching the athletes compete. I've never seen handball - ever - on TV, but it is a major Olympic event. Field hockey - I just want to watch the Dutch women - hubba-hubba... but honestly, I like sports - all of them... though I think beach Volleyball is NOt as good as regular volleyball. The fact that they have to dress the women up in skimpy outfits takes away from their pure athletic skill, and I actually find that offensive, believe it or not.
    Of course - that's money aside... and money I don't have to see spent from MY tax dollars. Though I suppose I partially paid for the Vancouver Games. Ugh.