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Thursday, March 14, 2019

It's A Wonderful End

This is my final blog on Japan for the foreseeable future.

Apparently the content is inhibiting my ability to get a job and I need to work, as my dream of being a lazy sod isn't paying off as well as I had hoped. I feel like an effing loser.

I am in the process of copying all of my blog stories, before physically deleting this blog site.

I will figure out what to do with all of the material. I may start another blog, but if I do, it won't be under my name.

I will continue to write my Pioneers of Aviation blog ( - so you can always say "hello" that way, or perhaps you already have my e-mail address.

I have been doing THIS blog since July of 2009... and it was only suppose to be about 80 articles long, as a means to get out the writing I did while I was in Japan.

So... with this write-up making it 4224 - a nicely mirrored number - I end my consecutive posting streak begun in February of 2011. That's not bad. Eight years of posting a blog every day. Not too many bloggers can claim that. So I will.

I just wanted to say - on what would have been my mother's 80th birthday today - thank-you very much to you loyal readers, you casual readers, and those looking for something else, but found this blog.

Thanks to all of you for allowing me to write for so long and so often.

It wasn't supposed to be that way.

I'm almost kind of glad that I get to see the end of this blog, rather than the way I thought it would end... me dead. Sorry no blog today, but Andrew is dead. So there's that.

Beats me what I'm going to do with all this extra time I now get back every day...

If you are looking for something witty here... I don't have it in me at this time.

I, Andrew Joseph, will just repeat my opening sentence on this blog (HERE):
I didn't want to go to Japan.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Everyday Nuts & Cranberry Ruby KitKat

Back in January of 2018, Nestlé Japan garnered exclusive rights to use ruby chocolate - and has just debuted its new KitKat flavor - Everyday Nuts & Cranberry Ruby KitKat.

This flavor combines ruby chocolate over the wafers with a mix of nuts (I think it's just almonds) and dried cranberries sprinkled atop it.

To learn more about Ruby Chocolate - a true new fourth chocolate flavor, joining the likes of Dark, White, and Milk - click HERE to read my write-up on it. 

There are two packages for the Everyday Nuts & Cranberry Ruby KitKat: the single finger product pictured above that contains four units, and a resealable standing pouch that contains round, bite-sized portions - see below:

For those who may still want the nuts and cranberries but not care for the ruby chocolate, Nestlé Japan also also come out with the same, but with milk chocolate - also with the nuts and cranberries sprinkled on top. I suppose it's merely called Everyday Nuts & Cranberry KitKat. It is also available in the two packaging formats.

These two KitKat varieties will hit the store shelves in Japan on March 25, 2019: the small packs retailing for ¥158 (~US$1.42); and the pouch for ¥600 (~US$5.40).

For those of us not in Japan, there will be, I'm sure, various international online retailers willing to sell you a supply.

Andrew Joseph

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Babysan - Different But The Same

Sorry I'm late. Babysan... the artistic creation of American Bill Hume was meant to represent all of the beauty and smarts of the Japanese woman for the American military man during the occupation of Japan after WWII.

Call it a warning... call it advice... just call her - that seems to be the mantra.

On the outset, the cartoon appears to be a joke showing the sailor, in this case, only having eyes for Babysan's pert breasts, ignoring all of the other accessories... but the description written on the opposite page of the 1953 book titled Babysan, implies differently.

Few girls in the world are cleaner and neater than Babysan and it may take hours to add the little touches that make her especially well groomed. She is an artist with a lipstick brush, painting with a bold stroke and generous with her use of materials. She has various compositions and rarely duplicates a design. She prefers to be "all time different." The boyfriend loves it, of course, but the way he looks at it she is basically fetching and fascinating.
So fascinating, in fact, that additional feminine flourishes often go unnoticed.

Nearly 40 years later, with my girlfriend Noboko, I saw her get all gussied up for public events, but was pleased as punch when I was able to see her without make-up in our private settings.  I suppose times have changed from those occupation years...

That's me... I prefer to see the real woman... not all covered in paint and powder. No chicanery required, please.

With Hume's above description... I do wonder if his use of the word "clean" was a subtle advisement that the Babysan of Japan are typically STD-free... or did he really mean it that the women just seem to take care of themselves with a regular bathing schedule?

Hume does seem to have a penchant for the double entendre, so let's assume he meant both.

Andrew Joseph

Monday, March 11, 2019

Russia - Japan war of 1904-1905 - Newspaper Perspective

I know no one has been clamoring for it for over 100 years, but above (and re-written by my self below) is a fairly well-thought out article on WHY the February 8, 1904 – September 5, 1905 war between Japan and Russia occurred, and just who has the advantage.

From The Holt County Sentinel – Oregon, Montana, February 19, 1904, aside from one spelling mistake (solemnly is spelled without the “n”, I come away from reading it with a pretty decent understanding of things regarding this war between two nations – a David and Goliath, as the writer indicates below.

Originally, an Oregon newspaper, it became a Montana newspaper in 1883.

You might wonder just why this article ran in a Montana newspaper. To be honest, I don't see any notation that says it came from any bog-city New York or Chicago paper, so I can only assume this well-thought out piece is original to The Holt County Sentinel newspaper. It was published from 1883 to 1980.

In case you can’t tell, the image of the man in the top left corner is Tsar Nicholas II, and in the bottom right corner is Emperor is Mutsu-Hito, aka Emperor Meiji (明治天皇, Meiji-tennō, November 3, 1852 – July 30, 1912), the 122nd Emperor of Japan, reigning from February 3, 1867 until his death. He is the one that brought Japan into to the global picture.

The article’s type may be too difficult to read, so I have typed it out for you. Enjoy:

The Seat of War in the East.
The Eastern Problem.
Now that the war, made unavoidable by the clash of the irreconcilable interests of Japan and Russia, and certain to follow the finish of the game of diplomacy, is on, the conditions under which each must fight with their bearings on the result, become matter of interesting speculation. On the one hand is a Goliath; on the other a David. Forty millions against one hundred and forty millions. A mass of men so small of stature as to be dubbed “Little Brownies,” pitted against a larger mass of stalwart, hardy, muscular men/ It is an absorbingly interesting spectacle and problem. What are the probabilities?

Japan showed its fighting capacity in the war with China in 1894-5, where forty million assailed nearly ten times their number. But Russia is not China. Japan showed capacity for fighting and marching in the movement on Peking during the Boxer rebellion in 1901. The spirit of Japan is high; the whole population is eager to fight. Every report and action of her naval commanders at Port Arthur indicate indifference on Russia’s part. This indifference is not to be slighted. It counts big in battle – whether on land or sea.

The vital factors in any way are supplies and transportation. Given equal fighting qualities, and the army that is best supplies with those factors is the best fighting organization. Russia must depend, if the conflict is prolonged long enough to exhaust supplies in Port Arthur and Vladivostock, upon 6,000 miles of single track railway to get supplies to its army and navy. The latter helpless without coal. The former must be fed. Japan has water transportation and only a few hundred miles of distance to cover. One vessel will carry supplies that require several hundred cars to transport. Japan has abundant coal supplies for its navy, easily obtainable. Russia must depend upon railways to furnish coal, and railways are slender, easily broken lines of supplies.

In the matter of food supplies the advantage is with Japan. What are the food habits of these two? What will be the nature of food supplies to be transported? The Japanese staple food is rice and fish; the Russian, black bread and meat. Rice is a compact food, carrying large sustenance in small compass. The waters supply abundant fish. No long wagon trains are needed to carry food supplies. A Cooley can carry 100 pounds of rice and keep up with a marching army. A week’s rations for 10 men, meat and bread, are bulky. “Three days’ cooked rations” were the limit of capacity for a haversack in the civil war. In the march on Peking the Russian force was constantly supplied with meat by droves of cattle and sheep. That means railway and wagon trains – impediments, delaying movements of troops. The two vital factors are in favor of Japan

What it is All About.
Now that Russia and Japan are flying at each other’s throats, people are wondering what it is all about. From time to tome hints as to “evacuation in Manchuria” or control of Korea have leaked out, but it is doubtful whether even the average well-posted newspaper reader is familiar with the situation. Korea is the bone of contention. Manchuria is Russian territory, not by right, but by virtue of the violation of the most solemn compacts made with China and Japan. Manchuria is rules by Russians, policed by Russian troops. It is gone from China and Japan knows it. Not so Korea.

Korea is a narrow strip of territory extending out into the Pacific ocean, separated from Japan only by the slender Yellow Dardanelles Korea separates the two great Russian ports on the Pacific, Port Arthur and Vladivostock. Russia says it must be removed and the only way is to destroy its menace to Russia is to make it Russian.

Japan says Korea points straight to the heart of the Mikado’s land, and that she must control it or be last. In the hands of any other power, that power would dominate Japan.

Russia must have Korea to complete her grasp on northern Asia and make her the dominant force in China.

Japan must have Korea or be wiped off the map of nations. With Russia it is, as usual, a war of conquest. With Japan it is a war of self-preservation. Japan has conquered Korea three times, but always left it its independence. It fought China in 1894 for Korea’s independence. Korea is essential too, as an outlet for the swarming population of Japan and for strategic reasons. Japan need not own Korea, but it must keep the peninsula open.

Russia promised solemly in 1886, 1894 and 1898 never to occupy Korea. Yet she has seized Yongampho in northern Korea, and was reaching out for Masanpho on the extreme southeastern line of Korea. This is why Japan says fight.

I hope you found that interesting and learned something, even if it was just how to spell the word 'solemnly'.

Here's what Wikipedia had to say on the war: Russia sought a warm-water port on the Pacific Ocean for its navy and for maritime trade. Vladivostok was operational only during the summer, whereas Port Arthur, a naval base in Liaodong Province leased to Russia by China, was operational all year. Since the end of the First Sino–Japanese War in 1895, Japan feared Russian encroachment on its plans to create a sphere of influence in Korea and Manchuria. Russia had demonstrated an expansionist policy in the Siberian Far East from the reign of Ivan the Terrible in the 16th century. Seeing Russia as a rival, Japan offered to recognize Russian dominance in Manchuria in exchange for recognition of Korea as being within the Japanese sphere of influence. Russia refused and demanded Korea north of the 39th parallel to be a neutral buffer zone between Russia and Japan. The Japanese government perceived a Russian threat to its plans for expansion into Asia and chose to go to war. After negotiations broke down in 1904, the Japanese Navy opened hostilities by attacking the Russian Eastern Fleet at Port Arthur, China, in a surprise attack.

Japan did defeat Russia in this war - thrashed them, despite being Little Brownies... a war that really helped Japan garner a big boy seat at the global table as a country to keep an eye on.

Andrew Joseph

Sunday, March 10, 2019

NBA Coming To Japan In October

Hey NBA basketball fans in Japan - the Toronto Raptors will be playing the Houston Rockets October 8 and October 10, 2019 at the Saitama Super Arena in a pair of pre-season games.

The last time NBA games were played in Japan was when 12 games were played between 1990 and 2003. I can still recall the time I saw a life-size cut-our of Shaquille O'Neal at a store - and thought just who the fug is this monster of a man?

NBA commissioner Adam Silver exalts: "Bringing NBA preseason games to Japan will help accelerate the growth of basketball in a country that features a thriving sports culture and one of the world's largest economies."

Get your tickets early!

"You have only to look at our organization to know that we truly believe basketball is a global game," Raptors president Masai Ujiri said. "We come from all over the world, and we are all connected through the love of our sport. We are looking forward to sharing that with basketball fans in Japan."

There have been two Japanese-born players in the NBA: Tabuse Yuta (surname first) played in four games for Phoenix in 2004-05, and Watanabe Yuta (surname first) has appeared in 10 games with Memphis this season.

The NBA also has pre-season games planned for India and China next season. Indiana and Sacramento will play in India, the NBA's first-ever games there. Brooklyn and the Los Angeles Lakers will play in China.

JAMS Joseph
PS: Yes, those are my real initials.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Kamaishi - Surviving

It would be useless for me to try and rewrite such a good story. As such, please click HERE to read the wonderful Bloomberg article on the city of Kamaishi, a town set to be one of the hosts of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, and a town still coping with the devastation it suffered when the March 11, 2011 tsunami smashed into it.

The initial portion of the video contained within the Bloomberg article shows the very first video I ever saw of the tsunami hitting northeast Japan that day.

It brought chills to me then, it brings chills to me now.

Please don't be afraid to click to read that article. The video is good - great even... I love seeing the positive way one woman speaks... but the article showing how the area is coping (or not coping) is also a fascinating read.

Holy smokes... in a few days it will have been eight years since the 9.0 Magnitude earthquake spawned that massive tsunami (and nearly caused multiple nuclear meltdowns at a reactor station in Fukushima - almost irradiating the entire northeastern part of the country.

Andrew Joseph

Friday, March 8, 2019

Babysan - What's In A Name?

In my three years in Japan, there was only one instance where I ever heard a person's Japanese name and remembered it instantly - that was Noboko's surname.

And, when she finally taught me her first name, I committed to memory also.

With this Babaysan cartoon drawn by Bill Hume in the early 1950s of occupied Japan, I can relate.

Even with Ashley - when we first met, I didn't know her name the entire first night - embarrassing but true. I asked others, but no one knew or was telling me, preferring to watch me squirm. Ashley herself realized that and to let me off the hook left her purse behind for me to rifle through when she went to the washroom... which she told me was her plan weeks later.

For the Japanese women and men I met - everyone said their name so quickly that I was never able to pick it up properly. Japanese was a new language to my ear, and it wasn't until well into my second year that I began to hear the names quickly enough for it to register.

I slept with many Japanese women that I have no idea what their name is - family or given.

People knew mine... heck, I was advertised in the local paper, warning or introducing me to the city of Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken in the days before my arrival.

It's why people were saying "hello Andrew teacher" and welcome... and while they might have introduced themselves, most were just content to say "hi" and wander off.

It was cool - don't get me wrong... I appreciate the effort even if it was done in Japanese, but if it wasn't for my friend and fellow English teacher Matthew, I wouldn't have met or known anyone in Japan beyond the formalities.

Of course, that doesn't mean I knew their name. Besides, most Japanese people tend to introduce themselves by their family name only.

It's rare that you hear someone say their given name of Muneo, Ryuichi or Noboko.

Here's what Hume had to say on the name game:

The problem of remembering names can work both ways. It may be tough for the American sailor to keep simple names like Yoshiko and Hideko filed away in the back of his white hat for future references, but it is equally difficult for Babysan to remember rhymeless and reasonless American names.
Often she has occasion to journey to the gate at the naval base to meet the boyfriend or inquire about him. The gate guard is usually willing to help. It's his job. But a lack of information can make his job doubly difficult. Neither he nor Babysan can be blamed if connections cannot be made between the quiet, concerned little Japanese charmer and her almost unknown boy friend.

As for Babysan, this cartoon shows that Babysan can't recall the name of the man she is supposed to meet, because she has so many boyfriends... and that she trusted him to give a real name... Smith? Sure. Maybe, but probably not.

Hume never depicts Babysan as being stupid. She's highly intelligent, but perhaps sometimes naive... as even Smith-san knows that Babysan is only there for a good time, not a long time.

And, to Hume's credit, he doesn't say that Babysan has a boyfriend, but rather spells it out as a boy friend. There's a difference.

By the way... if I was a guard in 1950s occupied Japan, I would probably find a way to get Babysan to go out with me. Concerned little Japanese charmer, indeed.

Andrew Joseph