So here I am sitting around thinking of you...

Everything must go as I prepare to go to Thailand in March.

Everything must go as I prepare to return to America this fall.

I won't regret leaving Germany. Two years here is too damn long.

Welcome back, my fellow noders.

Although not a whole lot has happened to me in the downtime (well, not much interesting enough to write about) I did have the pleasure of seeing Robin Cook speak in Leeds recently, promoting his new book Point of Departure. For those who don't know of him, you'd best read the second writeup here to get an idea of what the guy is like, but the short story is he was a Cabinet Minister in "New" Labour before resigning over Iraq because he didn't believe Britain should be going to war.

His book is partially about his attempts to get the House of Lords reformed, which to be honest I'm not too knowledgeable about, or interested in. However, it also contains a full account of everything of relevance which took place in Cabinet meetings in the run up to the War. Since Mr. Cook is now a backbencher, he has a lot of freedom to write about private conversations with Tony Blair, as well as other interesting things which, were he still in the Cabinet, he wouldn't have been able to say.

Although I must confess I didn't buy the book (well, my Dad, who I went with, didn't really want it, and I had no money with me, so...), I have to say seeing a person for the first time in the flesh as opposed to on the television (more often than not having his voice / womanising tendencies made fun of by Bremner, Bird and Fortune or Dead Ringers) was an interesting experience. What he had to say was even more interesting - even though I'm a Liberal type myself, he's definitely the kind of person who would make me vote Labour. Maybe.

After reading a few extracts from Point of Departure (which is essentially his Diary from the time, along with some musings written later on) and some more of his comments about the events, he took questions from the assembled audience (which I would guess was about 100 people, give or take) and some of the answers given were very interesting. The most common question was "Why is an apparently quite sensible Prime Minister going against most of the principles that we thought he stood for and allying himself so closely with "a far right neo conservative fascist extremist*"" and the answer always given seemed to be that Tony "Trust Me" Blair is very comfortable being the best friend of the most powerful nation in the world, and he doesn't seem to be too bothered about what he does, so long as he's remembered for improving the world** he doesn't care what he does to get there. None of that is really new, Satire shows and other media has been saying for ages he's only bothered about his place in History.. but to hear it from someone who actually knew the man well is kind of surreal. It's not often a politician speaks out like this.

Pleasingly, like (I reckon) almost all of the crowd, Cook is a fervent opposer of American Foreign Policy. He has serious problems with Dubya, but as he says "If you think George W. Bush is bad, you should meet some of the other people who are really running the show.. they're really scary!". He then recounts the tale of him meeting Donald Rumsfeld on some goodwill mission to the States shortly after the, uhh, election was "won" in 2000. Apparently, Rumsfeld answers everything in a one or two word answer, so the two sat in a room in silence for minutes at a time, and everytime Cook attempts to start a conversation, he was met with absolutely nothing.

I even got to ask him a question myself, and as opposed to everyone else who decided to start their question with "Labour was a party born out of the trade unions back in... blah... strong tradition of.... blah.... so anyway, my question is..", I simply said "What are the chances, in your opinion, of a Labour third term, and who do you think will be leading the party then?". He said that he thought the chances of a third Labour Term were quite strong, since the Conservatives have been in disarray recently (kicking out their leader because he's about as forceful in a debate as Jelly)... before completely sidestepping the rest of the question. He had a scheme of taking a bunch of questions, writing them all down, then answering them in a big long go to speed things up. So I don't think he forgot my question, I rather suspect he didn't want to tie himself to any particular leader.. perhaps he has similar disagreements with Gordon Brown. Perhaps he's thinking of trying to become the leader of the Party himself. Who knows.

Overall, I came away from the evening very impressed, and I have to say, liking the man a lot more than I thought I would. Although I haven't yet picked up the book, I may deem it worth a borrow should I see it at the library any time soon. If you're also British, pissed off at Tony Blair, and looking for some answers, I expect you could do much worse than to pick up a copy.

* - not my words, someone else in the crowd said that. But I have to say, I agree most strongly..
** - whether anything he's done recently has improved the world is a matter for debate.

Welcome Back E2!!!!

I don't know how I found things without you!

Things I learned, did, or thought while E2 was down:

I've never written a daylog before, but I thought I'd do it, just this once, as I've finally posted my first node on this side of the tunnel. I went for a seasonal topic, the Julnissen, and I thank Cletus the Foetus for his C!hing and dannye and liveforever for their feedback.

Today, lucky 13th of December, is a significant birthday for my wife, the love of my life. Last night she celebrated with two of her closest friends, one of whom also has a birthday around now.

We go out tonight.

While she was out toasting and hot-tubbing with the gals, I joined Tanja, friend and former teen sidekick, in a toast to her upcoming 21st birthday ("you're legal everywhere now"), and presided over her reunion with Tailsteak.

Tailsteak is a webcomic writer and artist (also an everythingian, though he's not yet noded), whose fame began with One Over Zero, a thousand-strip, metafictional tale set on the back of a dead bear. Despite interviews, fan art, fanfic, and a t-shirt which apparently failed to make anyone money, I remained unaware of the strip's existence until two weeks ago, when I discovered his new stuff. Anyway, turns out 1/0's sole female character, Terra, was inspired by T., whom he had known in high school. I realized upon discovering this fact that I had to get them together. So, last night, at my onetime watering hole (and a key setting in my novel-forever-in-progress), we shared animated conversation, some drinks (well, the teetotaler Tailsteak drank water), and I took a photograph. Obscure web history has been made! Or it will be, when I post the shot next week.

Welcome back everyone! Since the site has been down, I've started workshopping a new play, spoken with Jet-Poop, and utterly failed to research the nodes on my "to-do" list. But I've missed this place. I hope it doesn't close again like that, at least for a very long time.

In that event, I might have to write another rambling daylog, and I don't suppose anyone here wants that.

My mother drove my father to the hospital. She believed he'd had a stroke, as if in that dark moment of illumination, she finally saw how far he has deteriorated.

She has Alzheimer's too, though her symptoms are far, far less severe. The province still permits her to drive.

Much to our relief and after months of cajoling from their children, she has agreed to put both of their names on the waiting list for a seniors' home. They were such capable, competent people. I wish their lives were not ending in this fashion.

He was one of four brothers.

Albert died in 1974, of heart failure.

Terry died in 1984, also due to heart problems.

Reno died in 1994, afflicted with cancer.

We approach 2004.

I tell myself this pattern cannot be meaningful.

I phone home when I can.

Most of the time, he still knows who I am.


Kaytay's Continuing Experience with Stalkers, or
A Lot of Japanese Men Seem to be Assholes

I have been put in a precarious situation at work by a man who seems to think the sun rises and sets for his own personal pleasure. He seems to think that in addition to quenching his thirst for knowledge, I am also willing to sate his other appetites, none of which are personally appealing or morally flattering.

Well, I take that back. He handed me his meishi the other day, and it turns out he is the president of a reputable corporation. He owns several luxury cars (the fact of which he was more than willing to elaborate upon). He offers to buy me anything I want, to take me to any posh restaurant I desire, to become the benevolent patron he believes I so utterly crave.

While the monetary aspects of the relationship are almost mildly tempting (keep in mind, I’m a broke-as-fuck student trying to live in the most expensive city in the world), I’m not willing to compromise my morals and give this asshole the satisfaction of getting his way with the world yet again. I’ll settle for living off a bowl of rice eaten with disposable wooden chopsticks instead of the finest gourmet sashimi prepared by the most famous of sushi chefs, so long as I don’t produce an egotistical smirk on this asinine, arrogant man’s face.

Combine this situation with the never-ending stream of businessmen in Shibuya who run up to me to touch my hair and exclaim over my body, and I'm ready to hop on the next flight home.

I'm not for sale. I'm not an animal loose from the zoo to be pet and coddled. Now shut up and keep your damn hands to yourselves.

back to Being a foreign female in Japan

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