November 17th, 2005


Martin Landau

It's early morning in Naha City and the colour is just beginning to shift through the blue spectrum to reveal once more the touristic hotspot that is the gas storage facility. That's a duck egg turqoise (as is the hotel's LAN/Ethernet cable for that matter). The Pacific Hotel is a nice enough place if you like mid-70's Japanese design and living on the fringes of the love hotel district. The room's a distinct improvement on the business hotels I've been in: three chairs, two tables and enough room for a small cocktail party although probably not a full game of hide-and-seek. The first hotel in Tokyo had a yukata, the one in Osaka some weird hybrid of house coat and pyjama fabric. Here, it's some flax two-piece in acid green that is perhaps modelled after an episode of Space 1999.

I've haven't really written that much about food during my time in Japan and much less photographed it, so I made a promise to myself that I'd photograph everything I ate in Okinawa. I had a few dishes last night with a shop owner I got chatting to: jimami (a tofu made from peanuts), tofuyo (this is a fermented tofu, rather like the Chinese, that's pickled in awamori. It tasted almost like a bitter and pungent sherry trifle), tofu champuru, some small onion-like vegetable that are eaten raw with a sprinkling of katsuo-bushi and finally a few small dishes of mozuku, a local seaweed. And it was good...

Finally, here's an enlightened letter to the Editor from yesterday's Japan Times (it's not yet archived so there's no fixed link) that I had the pleasure to read on the plane here:

Folly of liberal immigration
If there is one thing Japan's government has got dead right, it is its strict immigration and refugee policy. A policy more "enlightened" nations have lambasted for years, I should add. What the world sees happening in France could never happen in Japan because of these same policies. France and Europe are now reaping the results of decades of poorly thought-out liberal immigration and refugee policies.

While Paris burns and their citizens are terrorized, Japan remains curiously peaceful and quiet. When European countries finally realize the obvious folly in their policies and take Japan's course, including expelling these internal threats as Japan routinely does, future generations of their citizens will be spared the horror of watching as their country burns to the ground.

Matsudo, Chiba

It looks like Mr Byrne gets around Japan, which might be handy, as it wouldn't be too tricky to track him down in Matsudo and torch the property while he's out, perhaps spraying Arubaito Macht Frei on the front door while you're at it. Not that I'm suggesting anything of the sort.