I'm saddened to hear, during a self-imposed net backout whilst I finish an essay, that Katsuhiko Oku died recently in Iraq. He was one of two Japanese diplomats gunned down on their way to Tikrit. I had a fair deal of contact with him in my previous job and I can say, without reservation, that he was one of the most friendly people at the Japanese Embassy in London and also in possession of a fully functioning sense of humour as well as a refreshing openness about internal politics - rare qualities among diplomats. There's not much to do, but since there's no butsudan in the house, I shall light some of the remaining Todaiji incense in his honour. He wasn't a man you could imagine doing anyone any harm.