Tonight's top story... Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.
When I saw the cover of Newsweek at a newsstand in Narita Airport a couple of days ago, I thought it was a joke: What Bush Got Right. (But there seems to be a lot of people trying to nail-down Bush's legacy before he even leaves office. Robert Kagan writes about The Bush Era in Perspective). Then I got on the plane, sat down, opened a copy of the Japan Times, and read that a "Majority in U.S. believe God can revive the dying". For a brief moment, as the plane taxied toward the runway for takeoff, I considered hijacking the plane and making it return to the gate so that I could apply for amnesty/Japanese citizenship.
I'd stayed pretty much unplugged from the world for the two weeks I was in Japan. I had no internet access, so I read a paper and watched the Olympics and a small amount of news on TV. It felt great.
Who is John McCain? This is John McCain:
What to look forward to: The Audacity of Nope. Who does he work for?
Over the last decade and a half, Japan has struggled to keep it's economy growing and stable. In efforts to fix things, the Japanese have tried to follow more closely to the American model - privatizing, downsizing, outsourcing - and breaking down the traditional ties and safety nets of society while doing so. What has been the result? What was once the most egalitarian of countries has seen a broadening gap between rich and poor and a rise in homelessness: Beyond the bright lights, Japan's biggest slum is nation's dark secret. It's a shame, really. More on Japan later...
Some thoughts on China and the 2008 Summer Olympics... Bird's Nest of Bird Trap? China: Humiliation and the Olympics. Design and Branding Trends: Olympic Games. However you decide to look at it at, it is always about control. The Forbidden World.
For all you Ren & Stimpy fans out there: Dirt? (don't miss the slideshow)
Finally, a nice li'l vid from Nippon, Chainsaw Maid: