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Japan Subculture Research Center

A guide to the Japanese underworld, Japanese pop-culture, yakuza and everything dark under the sun.

RIP 2011. Happy New Year 2012


Jan 1, 2012
Happy New Year 2012

It was a hell of a year. Literally, for the last surviving editor of this blog, at least. 2011 was the year that an earthquake devastated Japan, followed by a triple nuclear meltdown courtesy of the corrupt and possibly criminally negligent folks at TEPCO. Tadamasa Goto, the former yakuza boss allegedly turned Buddhist priest, was “lucky” enough to have one of his former henchmen shot to death in Thailand, thus basically destroying a five year investigation into him on murder charges. He united with the Kyushu Seido-kai and began working as a gangster again, prompting the police to reunite a “Goto Squad” and making me very uncomfortable.

Olympus, the optical equipment maker brought into focus the extent of corruption and lack of governance in Japan’s corporate world. Stephanie Nakajima, our chief editor took off to Occupy New York. Sarah Noorbaksh continued to be our tech support but began to focus on new projects.

On a personal level, I discovered that no natural disaster seems to trump the natural disaster that is my own body. Years of drinking and smoking too much probably took their toll and I came back to Japan after 3/11 to find a note from the doctor that no patient wants to read. I survived illness #1 only to get knocked down again with illness #2.  I got better. I got smarter. On October 1st, the same day the organized exclusionary clauses went on the books nation-wide, I quit smoking. Except for one binge, I’ve stayed nicotine free. I’m not expecting a pat on the back. As my daughter says, “Not smoking is no big deal. Do we congratulate people for not slamming their fingers in a door for six months or say ‘Hey, congratulations, it’s been two weeks since you walked into a wall!'”  She has a point.

This year we have a new staff, a bigger budget, and hopefully some guest contributors.  Look forward to more articles, more entries and more photos as well. Before burying 2011, I’d like to say a special thanks to Stephanie Nakajima, Sarah Noorbakhsh, Ikuru Kuwajima, Mari Kurisato, and everyone who wrote into this blog and has continued to read it. It is appreciated and hopefully edifying for you as well. If not edifying, at least entertaining. And if neither, hopefully a pleasant waste of time.

May 2012 bring you good fortune, happiness, health and contentment. May the wicked be punished, the just rewarded, TEPCO dismantled, Japan revitalized,  the corrupt imprisoned and may the 99% learn to share a little bit better with the 1%, may I be free from mild dyslexia and may the 1% share a little bet better with the 99%. 合掌!

Wishing you all the best for 2012!


12 thoughts on “RIP 2011. Happy New Year 2012”
  1. Happy new year Jake-san. Hopefully the newly staffed blog keeps improving and delivering us insight into Japan’s other side. At least for me it has really widened my perspective about Japanese society, so keep up the good work!

    Also, congratulations for not walking into a wall!

  2. Happy new year to you too Jake-san, may you keep on avoiding walls and uncomfortable situations and keeping on delivering us with in-depth, sharp information on Japan’s hidden reverse.

  3. Happy New Year to all. Jake I feel your pain, as I’m struggling with not one, but two chronic diseases. Hang tough. I’m still a smoker, but I’m beginning to recognize the downside more and more, so quitting maybe in my future.

    1. Good luck to you. I feel much better but I have my good days and bad days. I’m not going to preach that smoking is the ultimate evil but it probably doesn’t help make chronic illness better. Nicotine gum is useful in quitting and so is exercise.

  4. I just repeated your daughter’s statement to my flatmates, a couple. S got very smiley and excited and exclaimed to A, his girlfriend,

    “Brilliant! Will you congratulate me if I don’t bump into things for two weeks!”

    A’s reply: “No.”

    Oh well.


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