Vivid

I have few clear memories of being a child, but the ones I do have have are extremely clear. I remember the vivid pastel colors of tulips, yellow, purple, violet, and red. I remember other flowers, and how perfectly vivid and beautiful they were. There are some small yellow flowers I remember on a berm near a religious site at either Wisconsin Dells or the Lake of the Ozarks. I remember a perfect blue sky with perfect puffy clouds. Even as a teenager, I remember a perfect crystal blue sky just as a cold front that had dropped rain all night was leaving. The memories are incredibly vivid, and one of the things I mourn – and I quite literally mean mourn – most in life is the fact that the vividness of childhood is gone. Nothing is ever, and maybe never will be again – as vivid as it is in my childhood memories.

I also mourn the fact that I was unable to appreciate them fully as they happened. Youth truly is wasted on the young, and the memories passed by, to be impressed indelibly on my psyche as something I had once, but didn’t know until it was too late.

This evening, I was watching a video of the Enoshima Electric Railroad. As it passed by the Sagami bay, I was struck by how vivid Japan seems to be. Maybe it’s just an artifact of the way the video is done, but there seems to be a quality to Enoshima that reminds me very much of some of the vivid experiences I had as a child. The sky was a perfect blue, the houses seemed a little run down but well taken care of, there was lush greenery and mountainous terrain everywhere, and it just felt a little like… like the vividness that I mourn for can be found there, at least a little bit.

I know it’s a pipe dream. I know that if I were to go there, the darkness would seep in and it would all be for naught. But I think this quality, above all else, is what attracted me to Japan (and hence Japanese) in the first place. It’s a vivid country. The highs are high, the lows are low, but the kami are strong there, and the care with which they interact with and work with their environment shows with a sensibility that America just doesn’t have – or maybe more accurately, lost. They don’t seek to dominate their land, they seek to coexist with their land. And I think the land respects them for it.

(Of course, major urban centers are the same everywhere… sprawl is, unfortunately, sprawl).

Japan has much to learn from us, but we have much to learn from Japan as well. I wish the vividness would return. I wish I could see the world with those same eyes that I saw as a child. Because, let me be honest, I think I have the same eyes. I think the mind is clouded.

Rules

I don’t like rules. I mean, I really don’t like rules. Particularly stupid rules or rules I don’t agree with.

Now, I’ll be clear: not all rules are stupid, and not all rules I disagree with. “Don’t kill someone or take their stuff” is a pretty good rule. In fact, the Ten Commandments have pretty good rules that I don’t really disagree with or think they’re stupid. I think they were directed at a different, more primitive and agrarian society than ours, but we coud do much worse than to follow them.

But there are other rules I really chafe under, and the worst thing is, most of these rules are unwritten. Some aren’t – there are a few rules that are on the books in my country that I think are utterly boneheaded, and the only reason I follow them at all is because there’s a virtual gun pointed at my head in the guise of law enforcement. But there are others that no one tells you about, and you’re still expected to follow. I don’t generally follow those, and it pisses people off. I don’t care, and all that really does is make me not like people. I think this is one of the major reasons I am as much of a misanthrope as I am.

As a side note – “violence inherent in the system” is a real thing. It’s just not necessarily a bad thing, if used properly. It’s rarely used properly.

An example of rules I think are stupid – always having to respond something like “well” to “how are you”. I don’t. I always answer honestly, or at least noncommittally. No one knows how to respond to that, it seems. Another rule is having to acknowledge strangers who accost you in front of the grocery store. I completely pretend they don’t exist. The fustered looks on their faces are gold, but it makes me look like a jerk. I don’t really care about that, but it’s yet another rule that doesn’t really make any sense. Why should I be forced to respond to strangers accosting me in front of grocery stores?

But, in a sense, I am lucky. There is a social cost to my refusal to follow rules, but it’s, at least so far, not crippling. I may not like following rules, but there are some you just have to in order to survive in a culture, and in my country, at least, those rules are pretty minimal and not too invasive. I am single, and I think that’s mostly because I refuse to follow the unwritten rules of a relationship. But I’d rather be single than follow stupid rules imposed by someone else’s expectations of me. So I think I will continue to be single for the rest of my life. This is okay. Not ideal, because of certain biological drives, but okay. I can deal with it.

I think, though, that this is why I’m so torn on Japan. I chafe a little under the rules of written and spoken Japanese, as they are in some ways kind of stupid, but I accept that as far as language goes, that is the nature of the beast. I can ignore the rules, and even do so willingly, but at the end of the day this will just mean people can’t understand me . That defeats the whole purpose of a language, so it’s better to just suck it up and follow the rules rather than trying to change an entire culture.

But there are other rues that are more…. difficult… to follow, for me. Conformity is, to me, the very definition of a “stupid rule”, so I conform as little as I possibly can, even in my own culture. But in Japan, conformity is very much prized. I will sometimes break rules just for the sake of breaking them, but Japanese people consider this, seemingly, the ultimate of heresies. I feel awkward bowing in greeting, so I wouldn’t do it. I don’t like rajiotaiso, so I would refuse to do it. I would choose who I used polite language with, rather than letting the social strata of the person I’m dealing with determine that. Of course, sometimes, there may be good reasons for going along to get along, but not all the time. Some of the rules, of course, make sense, like being generally pleasant and not making a mess, so I would, of course, follow those rules.

But if I think my interactions with Americans are a little strained sometimes, imagine how the Japanese folks would see me.

I think this is one reason why I’m so… conflicted… about learning Japanese. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to learn about a culture with so many written and unwritten rules if I have no will or intention to follow most of them. I guess learning about them is its own reward, but it’s not going to be of a whole lot of use to me in the long run. I don’t get along with people well, and if it means following stupid rules, I don’t want to get along with people well.

Perhaps this is a personality defect on my part. Or perhaps I’m just unusually free. Who the hell knows, really. But it just is how I am, and I’m learning to deal with it.

ReMarkable 2 Review

A few months ago, I ordered a gadget called the “ReMarkable 2”. It is an E-Ink-based tablet that is supposed to feel and operate like paper. I received it a couple of weeks ago, and this is my review.

It is nearly the size of a normal piece of 8.5×11 paper, and while not nearly as thin, they obviously made an effort to make it as thin as possible. Let me start out by saying that the whole purpose of this gadget is to make it feel like paper, and they succeed. In fact, they succeeded so well, that for a while I actually found using it genuinely creepy. It was like I was drawing on paper, but it had a menu. I got used to it after a little while, though. The E-ink display is of a high enough resolution that it is difficult to make out individual pixels, so I am very satisfied with the quality of the display.

It is a device with many limitations. Obviously, it is only grayscale, for one. It has no internet access and does not behave like a normal tablet, and they did this deliberately. It has about 6G of internal storage, and does not have any way to access external storage, such as SMB NAS shares. The only way to send files to this device, or pull them off, is to use the provided app, it only accepts unencrypted epub and pdf files, and the sync process is quite flaky and buggy. It took me quite a few tries to get all of the files I wanted onto the tablet, and a couple it thought were corrupted that were not. But once the files are synced, it is a semi-capable e-reader. One purpose for which I use it is as a place to store and use my sheet music. This isn’t a purpose they designed it for specifically, but it seems to work very well for that.

But where it truly shines is as a notebook. It comes with a series of provided templates, such as grids, to do list, college ruled paper, etc, and you can use those templates to write and draw. I find that it can take the place of many pages of notebook that I was previously using for my Japanese classes. It shines for kana and kanji practice, but I can also use it for solving math problems, and other uses besides. It is lighter and more convenient than a laptop or other type of tablet, and is much more satisfying to write on. Also, because it uses an E-Ink display, it is much easier on the battery than any of the more capable devices.

I understand that they were aiming this tablet towards writers, but as much as I enjoy the tablet and do not regret the purchase, I find it to be minimally functional. I don’t necessarily want to be able to browse the web on it (this would be terrible for that purpose), but the ability to access external storage, install templates other than the small amount they provide without having to use SSH access, install apps to allow the functionality to be extended, and a few other bits of functionality that you’d expect from a more capable tablet, would make it a far more valuable product, in my opinion. It does not contain much memory/storage, its processing power is limited, and it suffers from the same drawbacks and advantages as any other E-ink device.

All this said, it is an extremely hackable device. A working SSH agent and a root password is provided by default, and you are given free rein over the device to hack it – or brick it – as you see fit. This is unusual for a device of this class, and there is a community based upon extending it and adding functionality that would otherwise not be available.

The only other caution is that the device is currently backordered way out. It took six months to get mine, and I’m not sure current orders would be any faster, though I would hope they’ve gotten some of their supply chain issues sorted out.

If you want a capable, paper-like e-ink drawing tablet that can also function as a semi-capable e-reader, this device is worth looking at, as what it does, it does very well. If you want something more capable, then you’re going to want to look at something different – and probably more expensive. I don’t regret purchasing mine at all, as it does what I bought it for, and a little more besides. You can find this device, and more information, at https://remarkable.com.

A Change of Direction

My last post was an eye-opener. It was the single best single-day performing post I have ever had, and I think it gained the most likes and followers of all of the posts I have ever written. And it had nothing to do with Japanese. In fact, near as I can tell, the only reason this was the case, was that I tagged it with a “blogging” tag. I guess that’s how the WordPress platform works. Doesn’t matter what you say, doesn’t matter what you blog about, only matters what you tag, who you follow, and who follows you back.

If I had a lot of posts about Japanese and I were passionately blogging every other day about one thing or other, this wouldn’t bother me, but that’s not the case. I’m posting very little right now, and that’s because I just don’t have anything that I want to share about Japanese. But I have things I want to share about other things. So screw it, I’m going to do that, because obviously it doesn’t matter one way or another. If you don’t like it, oh well. Better I post about random things than nothing at all, I guess.

I have, recently, been fighting a very existential depression. It’s the kind of depression that just kind of sits there and colors everything one does. I guess it could be categorized as “major” or “clinical”, though I am talking to my doctor about steps I can take on that side. But I don’t want to go too far into that. I do want to talk about some of the things that I’m thinking about, though..

Recently, here in central Texas, the nation’s largest waterpark resort opened. I’m not going to tell you how close it is to me because that would make finding me easy, but let’s just say I could easily drive there if I wanted. It’s the first waterpark of that chain opened in a metropolitan area. The other three locations are The Poconos, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, and Sandusky, Ohio. Every single one of those locations have incredible meaning to me, as they were a large part of my childhood. I spent last night finding each location on Google Maps, and am struck by how much the have changed in the forty or so years since I was last there.

I’m not going to go into the specific memories each of those places bring back, or why. But what I will say is that every single one of those locations have very powerful, and in many cases, pleasant, memories of my childhood. I have not had much joy in my life at all, but if I were to add maybe one other place, these are the places where I would say the most joy was to be found.

What happened to the joy?

It seems as life continues on, all of the joys recede into a blur of memory, the details mostly forgotten, but the feelings not. But it’s just a memory, and I don’t think it would be too much of a stretch to say that right now my entire life is either chasing after the memory of a joy that will never be recreated, or distracting myself from the dawning and cloying realization that the joy is gone and it will never return. It’s all gone, and everything that ever made my childhood happy (which was not many things) is gone as well, never to return, and all I’m left with is the emptiness where the joy once was.

Japanese was, and is, a distraction. That’s all it ever was and all it was ever intended to be. I find no joy in it, I find no happiness in it, all I find is toil for little tangible reward and much cost. But the distraction is valuable in its own way. As with playing on my phone and transporting myself into the worlds of different, stupid games, until my brain is numbed and I’m bored, and I move on to the next thing. I have so many different hobbies, and they are nothing but a distraction as well. There is no joy, but there is distraction, and forgetting, if even for just a little while. I have no intention of going to Japan because I don’t want to be there when the distraction wears off and I’m slammed once again by the emptiness left by the joy that once was and is no longer.

This is not a happy post, but I’m not in a happy state of mind, and as I’ve said, this blog is for what I want to share, and I want to share this. Maybe, if nothing else, I know what to pray for now, and in that vein, maybe it has been helpful. Till next time, I suppose. Maybe next week will have some good news.

Why I Suck at Blogging

A week or so ago, I decided to post on a Japanese forum an observation I made about learning Japanese. Some people agreed, some people didn’t. I expressed the opinion that I was posting in order to share an observation that I made, but at the end of the day, I wasn’t really interested in whether or not people agreed with me. I said that I would trust my sensei over a bunch of random people on the Internet. Someone responded, “then what’s the point of discussing?” I said that if the intent was to change minds, then I guess there wasn’t one. Not long after that I muted the post and have not engaged on it since.

This is why I suck at blogging and pretty much every other form of Internet community. At the end of the day, I simply don’t care what other people think and am not particularly interested in engaging with them.

I watch a lot of YouTube, though recently I’m trying to cut down on that becuase it’s pretty rotten for my mental health. But many of the YouTube folks let their commenters drive their channel. “Would you like to see something different?”, they say. “Comment down below!”. Now on the one hand, I see that for what it is – a cheap way to gain engagement. But on the other hand, it means that the channel is chaff before the wind, going whichever way the wind blows. That works for many creators, but not for me. I want to post about what I want to post about, and while I certainly don’t mind people expressing their opinion, I’m not really too interested in wasting my time discussing opinions I’ve likely already considered and dismissed. I love unique and well thought out opinions – truly I do. I rarely find them.

One could say this is selfish, but then you’d misunderstand my motivation for posting on forums and blogging in the first place. It’s not to convince, it’s not to show people how smart I am, it’s not to shove ideas down peoples’ throats. It’s to share. I like to be helpful, I like to contribute to the marketplace of ideas, I like it when someone says “I’d never thought of that before”, and goes off and integrates that thought into their life. And I like it when someone intelligent comes back with something I hadn’t thought of before. That does happen, and I really value that. But I hate inane, not well thought out comments that contribute nothing to the discussion or attempt to discuss me out of something I’ve already spent a lot of time and effort thinking about by using arguments I’d already considered and dismissed a long time ago.

But I fear this comes across as arrogance I had a commenter a long time ago say something like “you really don’t seem to want comments”. I’d argue against that statement, but weakly, because it’s not entirely wrong. I like engagement, but I don’t care about engagement. And that is why, after nearly 200 posts, this blog only gets a few views per day. It’s because I make zero effort to help people find it, to engage with people, or to do anything but share whatever random thought pops into my head at random intervals.

And that is why I suck at blogging. Because while I value the readers (and I truly do, particularly the ones that take the time to like or comment on the posts!) I don’t make much effort to gain or keep readers. So I have no influence. And quite frankly, I don’t mind that at all. Influence comes at a cost I’m not sure I’m wiling to pay.

Biden has not yet won

I promised that I would not make this a political blog, and I intend on keeping that promise. With the last post like this, however, I also stated that there may be one more post, depending on how the election turns out. Well, considering that most of my audience on this blog is global, there is an incredible amount of misinformation and disinformation going on about the current US election, and because I can, I’m going to dispel a bit of disinformation that you may have heard. I am sure that outside of the US, there are very few credible sources that will tell you this, so I’m going to tell you this now.

Biden is not the President-Elect.

The way elections work in the US is not generally obvious, even to those who are citizens of the country, so those who are not would be completely excused for not knowing how our elections work. Traditionally, what happens is, the votes are counted in the individual states, a winner is projected, the loser graciously concedes, and everyone gets on with life. However, this is only true because someone conceded. In actuality, the votes continue to be counted until such time as the states certify the elections, then those certified results are used to select electors. Those electors are who actually chooses the president. This happens more than a month after the election.

If an election is disputed, a presumptive President is not chosen until all lawsuits and any other contesting of the results are resolved.

Trump did not concede. He instead decided to contest the election. Because he is doing so, a presumptive nominee cannot be chosen until all of the lawsuits are resolved. Those lawsuits may or may not lead to an overturning of the apparent results, but that’s not material. Until they are resolved, the election results are certified, the electors are seated, and their votes are cast, there is no President-Elect.There are some disputed results in a few states. Because of how elections work in the US, each state gets a certain number of electoral votes. Those votes are equal to the number of electors each state can seat to determine who becomes the next president. Because there are 538 total electoral votes, a candidate must have 270 or more electoral votes in order to take the presidency. If neither candidate can meet this threshold, one representative from each state is chosen by the individual state legislatures to vote for who becomes the president. As Republicans control the majority of those legislatures by a wide margin, Trump would then be installed as the president. Pennsylvania holds 20 electoral votes, and that is exactly the number of votes Biden needs to cross that threshold. If Pennsylvania would be overturned, Biden would be in far worse shape, and it would only take one other state to flip to give it to Trump.

Will Trump’s lawsuits succeed? No one knows. The courts are a fickle beast. But what we do know is that they have a chance of succeeding, and that is the important thing for this discussion. Trump has several paths to be President, still. Therefore, Biden is not the President-Elect, and don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise.

What Japanese has taught me about English

I’d say this is a pretty good topic to talk about, right?

There are many things about Japanese that are very different from English. Some are just what they are – they’re different, but there’s no real useful insight to be gained about my own language. The fact that Japanese is postpositional, for example. It’s different, but neither system is better than the other. It’s just how things are.

But there are other things that are useful, and at least one thing that I intend on taking from Japanese and importing into my use of English.

One thing that I have learned is that language has a rather interesting way of distilling what a culture finds important. Because Japanese has a pretty well developed politeness structure. There are at least three different levels of politeness built in, and many words are rude unless used in a very specific context. English, for example, doesn’t really care about all that. There is a more formal way of speaking and addressing, but it’s not built into the language. We don’t consider it important enough to have that feature.

But what English does consider important is gender and countability, two things which Japanese seems to be mostly unconcerned about. In English, it is required to know whether we are talking about one or many items. It is important to know what the gender of a human or animal is. You can add this information in Japanese if you choose, but you don’t need to.

In my country, there is much kerfluffle about pronouns. Some people think you are required to use the pronouns which are demanded of you. Other people, such as me, don’t really care what is demanded and choose pronouns based upon longstanding societal norms. But this becomes difficult when eternal forces seek to demand that you use the pronoun that others demand that you use. “My pronouns are not up for debate”, you are told. Actually, I disagree. They are.

But that being said, it’s not something I really like to fight about. Truth be told, I’d rather just ignore the whole thing. Call yourself what you want, and I’ll just ignore it entirely. So the Japanese tendency to avoid pronouns is very appealing, and I think I am going to do that from now on. I have made it my goal to eliminate using third person pronouns in my everyday English.

After all, I did it in this post.

Let It All Out

As I have mentioned before, I was raised in a religious cult. Music was an important part of the cult, but it was treated more as a ritual than a celebration. We had our hymns which we sang (some were beautiful, some were depfressing, all were treated inexpertly), there was “special music” (which was nearly always performed by inexpert musicians who half the time didn’t know what they were doing), and I was starving. But I didn’t realize it at the time.

See, I have the heart of a musician, but my growth was stunted. It’s like a language to me, no different than English or Japanese, and it has dimensions to it that are only teased out with training and experience.

I was watching a couple of episodes of AKBingo recently, where a number of girls from different AKB groups were being auditioned for the role of “Dorothy” in a Japanese production of “Wiz”. The guy doing the auditions was looking for something specific, that going in I just didn’t understand – I still don’t completely understand. But the interesting part was that I knew which girls he would pick. The girls who won had a quality to their singing and dancing that I couldn’t describe if I wanted to, but it was the difference between a boring and uninteresting performance and something special.

In the finale episode, there were six girls. The first three did not do well. The last three did progressively better. When the fourth one sang, I said “she did well, but there wasn’t a lot of control.” I thought the fifth one was better than the fourth, though the auditioner said something about her expressions not fitting the role. I’ll have to look at that more, because I didn’t see it. But the sixth one was a girl named Masuda Yuka. She was not perfect – she lost a bit of vibrato control on the last high pitch. She was certainly better than the others. But she had people – including the auditioner – crying. And after she finished, so was she.

The auditioner said “You let it all out, didn’t you?” And she nodded, thanked him, and ran into the hall where she sobbed it out. She won the audition, and she deserved to.

That, in my opinion, is the difference between someone who makes music and a musician.

I haven’t known many musicians, but I’ve known a lot of people who play an instrument or sing. The difference is jarring when you finally see it.

I think that’s why I like J-Pop, J-Metal, anime music, etc. They’re not distracted. They’re not making the music because it’s going to make them a lot of money – I think most of the artists who are idols, etc., actually don’t make much money. But when they do it, at least the best one, aren’t distracted. They aren’t thinking of other things, they don’t phone it in. They sing their hearts out and put everything they have and are into what they’re doing. Even to the point where they make themselves cry.

That’s the Japanese way. That’s the majime way.

And you can tell.

All told, I think this is why I prefer Japanese music. No one in the entire chain of musicians – from the lyricist, to the backing track, to the featured performers – no one has phoned it in. And at the end of the day, that matters.

Culture

Living in America, I like my country. But, apart from things such as the constitution and our predilection for freedom, as fragile as it might be, I don’t like my culture. I don’t think I ever have, honestly.

The music we come up with as a country is, generally, stupid. Songs such as “Anaconda” – which is, frankly, an ode to the male organ and thinking with it – are popular. Songs are almost always about love and sex, and generally some puerile idea of what it is anyway, In fact, as a culture, we seem frankly obsessed with sex, have equated love with sex and pretty much allowed it to take over our entire idea of identity, and seem uninterested in – in fact, actively hostile to – anything which might even smell of intelligence.

Of course, it’s a big country. I’m mostly referring to popular culture. I am, after all, a part of the country, and the fact that I am so critical of, and disgusted with, popular culture here means that it’s not homogeneous.

Japanese pop culture is different. I’m not going to make a value judgement and say it’s objectively better, but I like it a lot more. The popular music – such as from AKB48 and other idol groups – has thoughtful and sometimes even profound lyrics. Anime runs the gamut, but can be well animated and thought out (contrast with Hanna-Barbera style cartoons, which are classics but are, to a one, poorly animated). There is a general focus on cuteness and innocence that is very much contrasted with the western focus on sensuality and eroticism (though I will grant that Japanese porn is messed up sometimes – when they let loose, they really let loose!). It’s no wonder that, for those from a western culture that disappoints at every turn, Japanese pop culture, in most of its forms, is so attractive.

A part of me doesn’t like to focus on any country’s pop culture, as I know that said culture rarely represents what makes a country special or great – including my own. But pop culture in any country both follows and leads the other, more intrinsic, aspects of culture, so there are things to learn from it.

Many of the entries on this blog have been me trying to reconcile the fact that I don’t like pop culture with the fact that I like Japanese pop culture. Perhaps it’s only the vacuous and puerile American pop culture I am not a fan of. Perhaps there is nothing wrong with liking Japanese pop culture. Enjoying a song such as sakura no hanabiratachi is not quite the same as witching Nicki Minaj and her rather disgustingly and likely artificially voluminous bootie twerking around while they sing about a man’s phallus. All told, I’d rather watch cute teenage girls dance around and sing about graduating from school than caked-on makeup clad women presenting themselves as prostitutes trying to arouse men for money.

One has a certain youthful purity to it The other is just disgusting.

I am aware, as I’ve posted before, of the seamy underbelly of Japanese idol culture – and in a broader sense, Japanese pop culture in general. Their cute and innocent facade is probably just as manufactured as America’s “house of ill repute” facade. And by no means do I want to minimize the potential impact on the lives of the girls I have come to admire so much. Some don’t make it. Some are almost certainly abused in one way or another. And some make the best of their situation and circumstances and make a name for themselves even past graduation from whatever idol group they may have been a part of. I know I follow the YouTube channels of both Kojima Haruna and Takeuchi Miyu. I don’t follow them because they’re former idols. I follow them because they earned it. They’re beautiful, but they’re talented.

I admire some of the idols I follow or at least have been aware of in a way that I wish I could admire in performers of my own culture. But I can’t. I can’t admire them. I can’t admire Nicki Minaj, or Britney Spears, or Rihanna, or pretty much anyone else who have a small seed of talent which they water with their own… I’m not going to follow that train of thought any further. It was a reference to Cardi B, who is perhaps one of the worst offenders, and exemplifies everything wrong with my culture.

I’m particularly sensitive to being thought of as a weeaboo. Which is something I don’t understand, myself, because typically I’m utterly unconcerned with what people think. But perhaps I’m unconcerned with what people of my culture think because I generally have no respect for them. But I respect the Japanese people – at least more than I do my own. They value and foster things that are missing in my culture, and perhaps I am as hungry for that as I am anything else. To be thought of someone who thinks of them as something they’re not would pain me greatly. But it would be the greatest compliment, conversely, if they understood that I see them as they are – warts and all – far more than most western people, through education, experience, and exposure, as fleeting as it may be, to their culture and people. I don’t respect every Japanese person. But I sure respect them a hell of a lot more than I do most people in my own country.

Do I go off the deep end? Maybe sometimes. But I guess I’d rather do that than try to find something in my own culture to respect. That ship sailed years ago.

Why I voted for Donald Trump

I will pause while some of you write knee-jerk comments or unsubscribe. I’ll wait patiently. Done? Okay.

I’ve said before that this is a blog, first and foremost, about Japanese topics. But there are times, especially in the past year, when the real world interjects and it’s appropriate to talk about other topics. I promise this will be the last post on political topics for quite a while. Depending on who wins (I think Trump will) there may be one more. But as I’ve said, it is important for me to use my voice and speak. In fact, I believe the masks we are forced to wear are a kind of punishment for not speaking up. So here it is. My reasons for voting for Donald Trump.

The Democrats have gone insane

I’ll be quite frank: even if I hated Trump I would still have voted for him. When the Democrats went full throttle against Kavanaugh and smeared the reputation of someone who, by all accounts except for the uncredible ones, was a decent man, I swore I would never vote for another Democrat. What with all of the riots, etc., and the Democrats proving to be utterly ineffectual in dealing with them in any sane way, that resolve has only increased. It’s Republican or Independent, but never Democrat again.

Biden is not qualified to be President

Biden is a nearly octogenarian who is undergoing what appears to be severe and rapid mental decline. The odds are very low that he would survive a first term, and I sure as hell do not want a President Harris. It is true that Trump is not that much younger, but the difference between him and Biden seems night and day. I wonder if Biden knows what day it is half the time.

Yes, Biden performed decently in the debates. But the bar was pretty low, and I don’t consider that an indication of fitness for the job.

Recently, evidence has come out that Biden is extremely corrupt, as well. That came too late to affect my vote, but it is yet another nail in his political coffin, as far as I’m concerned.

Trump is a decent president

For all of the reasons to vote against the Democrats, though, I voted for Trump. He has had one of the most successful first terms as president ever – his accomplishments are way too many to list here. He keeps his promises as best he is able, he seems to have a well developed sense of personal integrity (see below), and generally, if he says something, you can (directionally) take it to the bank.

You might say “wait, he’s a horrible liar, how can you say that?” Well, I’ll agree with you that he’s, shall we say, somewhat liberal with the facts. But much of that is hyperbole, some of it is humor and a deliberate grandiosity, and the rest of it is directionally accurate. By which I mean it may not be literally true, but it’s in the direction of being true, and that’s good enough. I’ve never seen him outright lie. He may have, but I’ve never seen it.

Many people say Trump is racist, sexist, any “ist” you can imagine. My response is this: I haven’t seen any evidence of that, and I’ve seen plenty of evidence to the contrary. So I don’t care what other people think – I don’t think he is, and that case is closed.

His foreign policy, while not perfect, is very good. He knows how to treat foreign leaders – treat them with respect and go at them hard on the world stage. There’s a reason he was nominated for three nobel prizes.

So, I voted for him I believe he is the right choice for another four years, and I was proud to not only vote for him but to donate some money to his campaign.

Is he perfect? No. No, he’s not. He’s human. He does some things I don’t like, I think his persona could be a little more polished on occasion, and he really needs to stay away from porn stars. His response to the coronavirus, while acceptable, was not stellar. While his instincts are generally very good, they are not perfect. I wouldn’t trust him around my daughter or wife, if I had either. But I’m not electing a nanny, I’m electing a President.

I was proud to vote for Trump this year, and I left the voting booth with a strong sense that I did the correct thing. That sense has not waned. So if you are a US Citizen, you may vote how you choose. If you think Biden is the right choice, then by all means, vote for him. I hope you have considered your vote thoroughly, but if you have, more power to you. But as for me, that is why I choose Donald Trump for another four years as President of the United States.