My New Blog Site

Author: mirai  //  Category: All Posts, Rants and Raves, Techie Stuff

I’ve decided to create my own blog server.  This site actually runs on a small server in my house so that I can have more control over my data (ie. just in case Xanga disappears someday).  As you can see, things are a bit better.  On the right, you can easily navigate through my old blogs.  I found them to be very funny to read again as I migrated them to the new server.

I’m still trying to get use this new blog software so there will probably be improvements as I discover how to use this thing.  But so far, I am very pleased about the useablity.  For those who have left comments for me on Xanga over the years, I thank you and look forward to seeing more comments in the future.

More Japanese Injustice – Lucie Blackman’s killer found “not guilty” for murder.

Author: mirai  //  Category: Rants and Raves

I’m not the type to get wound over high profile court cases, especially the ones in Japan, but the aquittal of Joji Obara (the man who viciously raped and murdered Lucie Blackman) got me quite angry.  This is a case of Japanese injustice and racism towards foriegners at it’s finest.

How could this happen?  Well, apparently the Japanese court could not find sufficient evidence to link Obara to the death of Blackman.  Being the sick bastard that he is, he drugged the women whom he came in contact with, and video taped himself raping them.  The police found an upwards of 400 video tapes of him conducting lewd sexual acts, so they did have sufficient evidence to link him to the rape cases.

But in Blackman’s case, the police did not take the missing person report seriously and did not actively look for Lucie because she was considered an illegal alien.  Ultimately, they found her badly decomposed body in a cave.  Autopsy reports say that since her body was in such bad condition, they could not gather enough forensic evidence to link Obara to her death.

In my honest opinion, had Lucie Blackman been Japanese, there would have been no doubt that Joji Obara would have been found guilty of murder. This should not be a case of her immigration status in Japan.  It was a case of a missing person, and the police should have taken the report more seriously.  Moreover, this should have never been made into Japanese killing a foriegner thing.  A murder is a murder and should have been treated accordingly.    Although the final outcome led to life in prison for Obara, it serves no justice for Lucie or her friends and family.  Obara should have gotten the death sentence and everyone knows it.

So how does Japanese law work?  Well its there to protect Japanese citizens only.  It does not not protect the rights of foriegners (legal or illegal).  Fair?  Of course not! But the usual excuse is, this is Japan.  Our laws are old and not written to protect the interests of foriegn nationals. So in turn, the Japanese government and its lawmakers openly admitt that all foriegners are second class citizens and that our interests will always take a back seat to the interests of ethnic Japanese nationals.

Naturalization?

Author: mirai  //  Category: Rants and Raves

Me and Japan have had a love/hate relationship for the last 12 years I have been here.  For the most part, I really enjoy living here, but it can be very trying at times.  One thing I hate the most is the “special” treatment I get it because I am a foriegner.  Now when I say special, most of the time its pretty negative, even if the intent is suppose to be positive.  I just want to be treated like anyone else, and yet Japanese people tend to treat you differently if you are a foriegner.

Some foriegners in Japan like to take advantage of the Japanese’s inability to communicate effectively with foriegners.  Hence, Japanese people often let foriegners have their way because, not doing so often meant having to confront the person and trying to explain to them that what they are doing is either incorrect, bad ettiquette/ manners, or simply illegal.  For example, there was a very long line to board a train that was nearly 10 minutes late (which by the way is an eternity here).  People were angry, yet everyone patiently waited in line for the train to arrive.  And then, BOOM a foriegner (probably pretending not to not know whats going on -as most inconsiderate foriegners often do in Japan) cuts in front of everyone and boards first in line.  The expression on everyone’s face was that of anger and discontent, that this guy just comes out of nowhere and stands in front of the line.  Yet, Japanese being…well…Japanese never pointed out that there is a line (although abundantly obvious) and so the forieger happly got a seat on the train during rush hour without having to wait no more than 30 seconds, while the others who had waited patiently are crammed aboard like sardines of which most had to stand.

Conversely, when Japanese people do have the guts to confront foriegners, its usually never in a very positive way.  They often speak loudly and slowly, and emulate the foriegner’s accent (quite poorly and somewhat offensively) while speaking very poor Japanese thinking that the foriegner would better understand this crap.  I always get this, and I simple respond, Is there something wrong with you? in my fleunt Japanese, to which they are often embarrassed about.  But usually, I am the one who’s more embarrassed and humiliated, and I wish people would not do this.

But the one thing that irritates me the most is police harrassment.  Apparently, some police officers in Japan feel that it is their duty and their god given right to stop every foriegner on the street and ask them for their ID.  I get this on an average of once every 3 months or so and it can get a bit annoying.  When I ask them why they are stopping me, they ususally  have no good reason other than being a pest.  One time, I got stopped on my lunch break.  I was cutting through some apartments on the way back to the office when a police on a bicycle stops me and asks me for my alien ID card.  I asked “why”, and he responded, I just need to check your ID.  I then said, if you have no real reason for stopping me, then what you are doing is illegal.

Now, this guy seemed kind of young and I didn’t mean to give him such a hard time, but I was getting really tired of getting stopped all of the time just because I don’t look Japanese.  I can tell he was struggling for a reason to legalize this spot ID check.  Eventually he came back with, there have been a rash of robberies in these apartments lately and you don’t look familar so I am just trying to gather information.  Now since this guy did have a legitiment reason that was perfectly reasonable (since I was cutting through some apartments), I did have the obligation of presenting my ID.  HOWEVER, the question is, if I had been Japanese or at least Japanese looking, would he have still stopped me?  In my honest opinion, I doubt it.

Lately, I have been looking up various sites on Japanese law and their policy towards foriegners, and I have found that many of these laws are very lop-sided and carry many racists overtones.  For example, although not 100% clear, a foriegner is obligated to present an alien ID card or passport to a police officer, who identifies himself as a police officer,  BUT it is illegal for the police to do spot ID checks on Japanese citizens without due process.  In other words, the police can stop a foriegner and do an ID check for any reason as long as they identify themselves as the police or they could be arrested and fined, but they cannot do the same to a Japanese Citizen unless they are clearly violating the law or thought to have violated the law.  FAIR?  I say not.

So I submit this situation. WHAT IF I WERE A JAPANESE CITIZEN?  Under their own laws, I would no longer be obiligated to submit to spot ID checks. But if I refuse to present any ID, I could be subjected to arrest and fines. A catch 22?  What are my rights then?  Well, apparently this has already happened.   A naturalized Japanese citizen of foriegn origins was once stopped and asked for his alien ID.  He said that he didn’t have one (obviously being Japanese, he no longer should or could carry one).  The police then asked for his passport, to which he responded, I am not carrying one, and I wouldn’t show it to you if I did. The police officer at this point was quite angered and arrested the guy for not cooperating with the law.

As you can imagine, things got pretty ugly.  He was taken to the police station and processed for obstructing the law.  But it didn’t take long for the police to realize that they had just arrested a Japanese citizen for not presenting an alien ID card or passport in his own country.  Duh! Consequently, the police wound up having to issue an apology to the guy.  But with this in mind, what is the difference between this guy and myself?  Although I am not a Japanese citizen (but a permanant resident), we are both foriegn born and have the same rights under the Geneva convention to live and work here, and yet the Japanese law states that the police have the right to treat us differently.  Japan is probably the only free world country to still have legalized racism and its pretty sad.

What to do next?  Well, being of Japanese decent, and having relatives who are Japanese living in Japan, it wouldn’t be too difficult for me to become a Japanese national.  I looked up the benefits and consequences of naturalizing, and although there arent too many benefits other than being able to vote, and being able to tell the police to screw off the next time they card me. Likewise there aren’t any consequences either.  And acccording to a loophole in Japanese law, although technically I would  have to renounce my American citizenship, I am supposed to do this on my own accord, and so there isn’t anything to enforce it. And they do allow dual citizenship for those who cannot renounce their citizenship or find it too diffiicult to do so. And basically, the USA doesn’t care what other passports I hold as long as I don’t commit treason against the US.  As a matter of fact, the US prefers that I keep my citizenship (because they don’t like losing people to other countires) and so effectively I would be a dual national.   So I have decided that probably in the near future I will be applying for Japanese citizenship and become a dual national.

Can’t take the responsiblity!

Author: mirai  //  Category: Rants and Raves

I’ve I learned one thing from living in Japan, and that is that the Japanese people don’t like taking responsibility for anything.  Or more accurately, they refuse to take responsibility for anything.  As a matter of fact, some would rather commit suicide rather than facing the issues.  That’s why the suicide rate is so high in Japan.  Almost everyday, some train system is stopped because some fool thought it’d much much easier to step in front of a speeding training rather than handling whatever issue that they managed to get themselves into.

A classic example of this is Japan Airlines.  I’m  beginning to believe that one of the prerequisites for being a Japan Airlines CEO is the ability to take your own life in an event of a tragedy.  Forget trying to resolve the problem or offering solutions,  suicide is much quicker and simpler.  In 1985, after flight 123 collided into a mountain, and the crash investigators assessed that the cause was due to poor maintenance and repair after a prior accident that happened 7 years earlier with the same Japan Airlines plane, and several Japan Airline’s top officials took their own lives rather than handling the responsibility.

Another example of this refusal to take responsibility happened in the Japanese school systems.  Apparently, a certain school district failed to teach an important curriculum during the course of a school year.  As a result, several hundreds of high school students were didn’t have sufficient knowledge to pass a graduation examination.  Instead of acknowleging his error and helping these students to aquire the knowledge needed to pass the exam, the coward took the easy way out by commiting suicide.

Not all cases end in suicide though.  Some people just go through complete denial until concrete evidence is produced to show one is at fault.  An example of this point right back at the Japanese school system.  Recently, bullying has become an issue within the school systems, and several students felt that the school officials were very unhelpful when confronting them about bullying issues.  Some students even felt that their situation was so dire, that they had no choice but to commit suicide.  Despite the sudden surge in suicide amongst the students, the school disctricts and its leaders continued to that there was a bullying problem at the school.  Some went as far as blaming the cause of suicide as being problems at home. The school officials continued to deny everything until the pressure from the media eventually overwhelmed them into confessing that there is indeed an issue with bullying.  But all that they could really do was apologize; no real formal acceptance of responsiblity nor a propasal to try to resolve the issue.

I really don’t understand it all.  What’s the big deal over accepting responsibility over an error?   I think that being able to admitt a mistake and help come up with solutions in trying to fix it is the best thing that anyone could do.  But unfortunately in this country, you’re not allowed to make mistakes, and if you do, you better know how to either deny it or be ready to take your own life.