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August 09, 2005

Show us your spirit!

Sixty years ago today, at the end of World War II, the Russians took over the northern islands in Japan, which they have never given back. This is a terrible thing, of course, but not the sort of stuff I would usually mention here. However, it is also one of the anniversaries that the far-right Japanese nationalists really get worked up about.

Unfortunately, when that happens, they put down their fishing magazines, put on their camoflauge kit and drive around in customised black vans protesting. They certainly put the Japanese flair for technology to good use as the public address systems are the loudest I have ever heard. You may laugh at them, but there is little chance you can ignore them.

And I am sure that one of their goals is to drive the Russians absolutely ape-shit by passing by every ten-fifteen minutes all day with the martial music and nationalistic chants playing full-blast.

I know this because I work in one of the buildings they pass by to reach the Russian embassy. And I know how loud they are because I am on the 15th floor and it sounds like they are right here next to me. The first time they drove by was kind of funny, in a "aren't they wacky sort of way". The second, less so. The third, fourth...tenth time (and counting) - not so amusing anymore.

Why don’t the Russians just give them back? There is nothing there anyway. We could all get some peace and quiet and the far right nutcases can get back to their magazines. I will go down and get some pictures later...I am sure they will be back.

Makes the title of the post just below this kind of ironic, doesn't it?

Posted by Kirk on August 9, 2005 02:31 PM


Read with interest your description of the Japanese nationalists driving around in their vans screaming at the top of the lungs. It brought back fond memories of Osaka and the town I lived in Ueno (Iga-cho, Mie), and their semi-annual noise parade. Most everyone I knew (Japanese) dismissed them, and told me that whatever it was they were saying wasn't worth listening to. I have a friend who also went to the Monetery school you attended (Maiko Hata)maybe around the time you were there? Anyway, I enjoy your site as it brings back memories of my time there (approx 3 years from 98 to 2000). Never really made it to Tokyo except to see Fuji Rock festival and Phish when they toured the country.

matt m.

Posted by: matt at August 11, 2005 03:57 AM