May 6th, 2004


Sneaky Pete

A Japanese dictatorship for 4,000 years? Who is this guy on the radio? Something like Mumblass Mumblekirk. The website hasn't caught up with the broadcast yet, so I can't find out. Hang on, it has now, he is, according to Today, Republic [sic] Congressman Mark Kirk. That would be I'll just listen to that again to check my facts. Yep, that's right. Dammit, I'm feeling cranky (No! Not like that. Not cranked. Sheesh, you people.), but I can't email him because his site doesn't allow people outside of the 10th Congressional District of Illinois to contact him, or at least those unwilling to fake the zip code...

There was only one option and that was to contact the Japanese Embassy in Washington:

To whom it may concern,

This may seem a slightly strange request, but I have just now been listening to an interview on the BBC Radio programme Today with Republican Congressman Mark Kirk. I would contact him personally, but I am a UK citizen and unable to email him as I am not a resident of the 10th District of Illinois.

Congressman Kirk, in an interview concerning the current situation in Iraq, made reference to the work undertaken by America in both Germany and Japan following the conclusion of war. In this interview, he stated that Japan had prior to this point experienced 4,000 years of dictatorship.

Might you, in good humour, possibly consider contacting him to correct him on this historical oversight. It might certainly be argued that Meiji reforms did not usher in a period of liberal democracy, and indeed that political freedom during the Tokugawa shogunate was not exactly extensive by modern standards, but even if I accept the date of 660 BC for the accession of Emperor Jimmu and the foundation of Japan, I am hard pressed to work out where this figure of 4,000 years might have come from.

I am sure the JICC should be able to gently direct Congressman Kirk towards materials that will give him a firmer understanding of the Jomon period and much else besides.

Yours &c...

I was tempted to write "to boldly direct" but I resisted. Yup, I'm in a cranky mood alright. But I am strapped to the wagon.

Aslan Abashidze has left the building. I'm not convinced that this will be the end of the story. It seems he's flown to Russia. Let's hope the transition passes peacably.

Thursday Avo

I think it's safer that I stay in doors as much as possible. I was heading over to pick up my mandolin from the repairer, but the area is snarled up with some traffic incident over by Fresh and Fruity. Either that or someone has held up the Post Office.

No problem, but there was some group outside Safeways that had a series of flag pennants (including Palestine and Israel) stretched out above their trestle tables. Now, we do get a few street preachers round here, including one man who seems to be dressed in a hessian sack, but it's not a group of seven people. I wandered over and asked who they were. They didn't answer directly, but instead went on about introducing Jesus to the area. So I did say that this seemed to rather inconsiderate given that Stamford Hill is the heartland of London's Orthodox community. Well, we have a duty. That's not the point, I said, you're just going to wind people up and you should show some common sense and manners. He indicated my Japanese Red Cross, I said I was a Christian. I might have left it at that point, but spotted that a large amount of their literature was to do with the Kabbalah. Oy gevalt! "Jesus and the Kabbalah"?! Genug shoyn! I started losing my temper at this point and bluntly told the man that they should fuck off out of Stamford Hill and head elsewhere with their occult bullshit. I wandered home, muttering darkly. Hopefully some local frummers will head over and make their views known.

But now I'm calmer, I am wondering who they were. Gnostics? Theosophists? They seemed too culty for that with all their talk of Jesus. I am curious but it's better for all concerned that I don't head back out again! I don't like shouting at strangers, regardless of persuasion. I wouldn't actually be averse to a reasoned discussion about the Kabbalah and Jesus (whatever my views). I always regret losing it in public.

Now for some calming tea...