Feb 15, 2009

Immorality of bushfires

Australia will recover from its recent bushfire tragedy damage. But can it recover from the shock of discovering how much of the damage was due to arson? Japan could provide some answers, though not all optimistic. Societies have several ways to hold themselves together ...

Feb 5, 2009

What's wrong with the way English is taught in Japan

The good news is that Japan’s education bureaucrats realize that despite six years of middle and high school study many Japanese are still unable to speak English well. The bad news is that the bureaucrats plan to solve this problem by giving us more ...

Jan 25, 2009

Larrikin notions of civilization

TRAVELS IN ATOMIC SUNSHINE: Australia and the Occupation of Japan, by Robin Gerster. Scribe Publications, 2008, 336 pp., $49.95 (cloth) Robin Gerster is a respected university- based researcher into recent Australian history. This, his latest book, is a very well-written and very detailed account ...

Jan 25, 2009

Larrikin notions of civilization

Robin Gerster is a respected university- based researcher into recent Australian history. This, his latest book, is a very well-written and very detailed account of Australia’s brief attempt (1946-1952) to occupy and “civilize” its large northern neighbor, Japan. The result, needless to say, was ...

Jan 15, 2009

Antiforeigner discrimination is a right for Japanese people

“Japan girai” — dislike of Japan — is an allergy that seems to afflict many Westerners here. If someone handing out Japanese-language flyers assumes they cannot read Japanese and ignores them, they cry racial discrimination. If they are left sitting alone in a train, ...

Jan 8, 2009

Outlook is mixed for 2009

Looking at 2009, the good news is that the global economy is likely to recover much faster than predicted. The bad news is that global politics are likely to deteriorate much more rapidly than most expected. From the beginning it was fairly clear that ...

Dec 8, 2008

Mumbai and Kashmir: What goes around, comes around

We were all shocked, rightly, by the Islamist attacks in Mumbai. But how many or us were equally shocked by earlier reports about the discovery of unmarked graves in Kashmir? According to one account (World Socialist Web Site): “The Indian government is refusing to ...

Dec 1, 2008

Trusting in the fiscal pump

“Learn from Japan,” they said as the U.S., British and EU economies headed for their current downturns. Well, they may have learned something. But until very recently that something clearly was not enough. One thing they do seem to have learned early on was ...

Oct 27, 2008

West ganging up on Russia

Western reports say Russia is in deep trouble because foreigners are fleeing its stock market following the recent conflict in Georgia. Maybe so. But none of this was very visible to me on a recent Moscow visit. Shops cater to the newly rich on ...

Oct 6, 2008

Counterproductive antiterrorism

Buried deep in the U.S. Pentagon somewhere is an official in charge of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. As he goes about his daily chores — organizing the floor shackles, bully guards, illegal confinements, arbitrary trials and occasional torture sessions — he ...