Game of Thrones: Japan to Intensify Efforts to Balance China
In a big interview with the Wall Street Journal, Shinzo Abe “said he envisions a resurgent Japan taking a more assertive leadership role in Asia to counter China’s power, seeking to place Tokyo at the helm of countries in the region nervous about Beijing’s military buildup…

The next morning, the Chinese jumped out to an early lead, winning the first three events. They were well on their way to winning the overall trophy. Watching them conquer an event called Method of Entry — breaking down three doors, scaling the side of a building, shooting a series of steel targets and sprinting back to the start — was simultaneously impressive and terrifying. Team America, who spent the previous night in their barracks drinking contraband rum, had trouble getting inside: they wasted five minutes trying to open the door the wrong way and finished near the middle of the pack.

That night, everyone loaded onto buses for a team mixer at the Intercontinental Hotel. “I hope they have karaoke,” Carey said. He turned to A. in the seat behind him. “How do you say ‘Call Me Maybe’ in Arabic?”

“Ismeh robbama?” A. said. It meant, literally, “My name is Maybe.”

When they arrived, the reception was in full swing. The Malaysians were on the patio, drinking juice. The Russians were at the bar, definitely not drinking juice. There was tuna carpaccio and crudités and little ceramic bowls of gourmet potato chips. Outside, Sgt. Shkendije Demiri and Capt. Brittney Ray stood chatting in their uniforms. Demiri and Ray, both in the U.S. Army, are the first two women in the history of the competition. The Arab teams, in particular, seemed to love them. “They all want to take photos with us,” Ray said. “It’s like seeing a unicorn.”


Obama & Xi, Tigger & Pooh, stride for stride — CENSORED!!

Apparently it got “harmonized” (censored) off Weibo last week.

Japan is Better than China

A leading expert, Gerald L. Curtis of Columbia University, correctly pointed out on a Council on Foreign Relations blog last year:

“If you think about living standards and the quality of the air you breathe, the water you drink and the food you eat, the health care and other social services you receive, and the number of years you can expect to live, the answer is obvious: better to live in ‘declining’ Japan than in rising China.”

intense interview with PM Abe @ Foreign Affairs

It always seems to cause problems when you talk about history, so why not just avoid it? And let me ask a related question: In order to put these issues aside, can you promise that as prime minister, you will not visit Yasukuni Shrine in either your official or your private capacity?

I never raised the issue of history myself. During [recent] deliberations in the Diet, I faced questions from other members, and I had to answer them. When doing so, I kept saying that the issue is one for historians, since otherwise you could politicize it or turn it into a diplomatic issue.

About the Yasukuni Shrine, let me humbly urge you to think about your own place to pay homage to the war dead, Arlington National Cemetery, in the United States. The presidents of the United States go there, and as Japan’s prime minister, I have visited. Professor Kevin Doak of Georgetown University points out that visiting the cemetery does not mean endorsing slavery, even though Confederate soldiers are buried there. I am of a view that we can make a similar argument about Yasukuni, which enshrines the souls of those who lost their lives in the service of their country.

But with all due respect, there are 13 Class A war criminals buried at Yasukuni, which is why it makes China and South Korea crazy when Japanese prime ministers go there. Wouldn’t it be easier just to promise not to go?

I think it’s quite natural for a Japanese leader to offer prayer for those who sacrificed their lives for their country, and I think this is no different from what other world leaders do.


So lately, my old friend Cassandra and I(MOOOOSTLY her, she’s been working hard) have been working on a podcast & news site called o.t.o. that focuses largely on Visual Kei and Japanese/east asian music in general.

This is the first episode in which I actually come on and talk. Cassandra plays the new Silver Ash stuff and I play Tokusatsu(the band) and Janne Da Arc and we also talk a bit about all those bands. It was fun, so CHECK IT OUT!!

(before any tokusatsu superfans chew me out for misinfo, I know they don’t have two songs about dogs and cats, I was thinking of the song アベルカイン.)

The American Interest:

Top Chinese leaders told us that they believe Japan is entering a period of right-wing militarist nationalism, and that the purchase of the islands was a deliberate effort by Japan to begin a process of eroding the settlement of World War II, including the Cairo and Potsdam declarations.

Chinese leaders speak of China’s “peaceful development”, but some analysts believe that China cannot rise peacefully, and will seek a form of hegemony in East Asia that will lead to conflict with the United States and Japan.

This will make a good Call of Duty someday. 

I, of course, am rooting for Japan, since China takes american ideas and jobs  AND could give us a few beat-downs in a real war. Also there’s no good bands there.