Monday, 14 March 2011


I expect everyone has been on tenterhooks wondering how I will respond to the terrible events in Japan, especially given my own links with the country through JUBBLIES (Japanese Umbrella Backing Body - Lunching In Endless Sushi), the Japanese umbrella body modelled on BUBB (see here)

How we communicate our feelings in light of the enormity of things like this is always a dilemma - one has to tread a fine line between trite and hysterical, and in truth often no words can properly say what is required.

The tragedy reignites a crucial debate following the 2004 Boxing Day disaster about how we respond and what language is appropriate. What it boils down to is whether Tsunami should have a capital T or not? And if so why isn't earthquake capitalised?

Other than that will I:

a) Play it low key, offer some standard words of comfort?
b) Go go over the top in a cringe worthy way?
c) Cut and paste some copy from my visit to Japan, and Sendai in particular, in September 2009 which just happens to make some mention about me being a broken record - particularly apt when it comes to the way I manage to shoehorn so many references about my Knighthood into my blog even if it is contained within a prescient post repeated from 18 months ago.

Yep, I'll go for option c)

"Another plate of raw marine-kill for breakfast is not a great way to start Saturday and I crave a nice bowl of Golden Grahams. And a croissant. You'd think a culture that has spawned some of the great technological developments would have found a way of cooking fish but no. However, my hotel has a lovely hot spring though there is nearly an incident when I expose myself to a bathful of females after wondering into the wrong room by mistake.

Then it is on to our 48th launch event in Sendai. More dreary questions on "issues" and I waffle on about the need for big ideas and innovative thinking unlike that displayed by some of my colleagues in the UK who manage to be both subversive and reactionary at the same time.
One of the young activists, who is also obviously a piss artist, draws my name in traditional Japanese characters and the translation means "broken record", which isn't entirely inappropriate.

Sendai is a lively town and Pepe Ohdearie takes me out on the lash. I somehow end up competing in an unlicensed sumo event and then it's onto a karaoke bar where my version of Umbrella-ella-ella is met with stunned appreciation.

Sunday is a quiet day and I have a long chat with Professor Nopun Intendedishiro (Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies at Oxford, naturally), the chair of JUBBLIES who has managed to wangle himself a nice little earner by appointing himself as its first paid chief executive, about future ways of working together.

I am frankly completely bored by all of this now and the healthy food is doing my noggin (and digestive system) in. So I decide to duck out of the rest of the launches and head back to Tokyo."

September 2009

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