From news reports:
"Japan's foreign minister yesterday urged China to respond to an earlier demand for an apology and compensation for damages caused by a violent anti-Japan protest in Beijing over the weekend...Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura said yesterday he "expected to receive a response soon" to his demand over the weekend that that Beijing apologise, compensate Tokyo for damages, and provide better protection for Japanese citizens and interests in China."
Apologize for government-supported riots and destruction of property? Really? I thought you people were against that. I do wish the Japanese government would be consistent.
Unless wars don't count? Just small protests, then. Evil, evil small protests.
I mean, honestly. The sheer gall of the Japanese Foreign Ministry.
I nearly locked my keys in it this morning. That is, I tried very hard to accidentally lock my keys in my car. To be specific: I left the keys in the car, locked it, and closed the door.
The car beeped at me and unlocked the door. My car is fantastic.
So today I did something I have never done before.
Let me preface this with two important facts. First, I had had a glass of wine that had not worn off yet so I had been wasting time in a nearby bookstore after dinner till I felt okay to drive.
(I really can't hold liquor of any kind, unless it's in Asia.)
Secondly, I was apparently being exceedingly attractive because men in the bookstore were extraordinarily nice to me. They smiled at me, offered me assistance, and gallantly stood out of the way to let me pass and such. Isn't alcohol supposed to work the other way?
Anyway, after some drug-induced splurge buying (okay, this for me means a magazine with details on brioche stitch and some 20% off Bach I had been meaning to pick up), I went out to my car, feeling relatively normal.
All the alcohol rushed back to my brain, however, from wherever it was in my system soon after I got into the street, and this is why: a teenage boy in a group of 3 hyperactive teenage boys hit me, as hard as he could, with a piece of wadded up paper at close range.
Mind you, it didn't hurt. But there was alcohol involved. And he had obviously meant it. I blame video games. Evil, evil video games. Plus, my alluring beauty obviously made me a target. Perhaps he just liked me?
Now, years ago, I would have done crazy things like confront him, but time has mellowed me and I have decided, Bertram Wooster-like, to live and let live. However, there are some things I cannot abide, and being a random target of teenage maschochism is one of them. Also, as I am still slightly tipsy, I cannot spell maschochism, let alone abide it. (All of this happened ten minutes ago. I'm becoming a fairly good reporter of my own life, aren't I?) So I reverted to my unmellowed self. And, at the same time, did some sort of Pokemon evolution thing to a higher form of being: Aunt Bee.
So, high as a kite, I ran back and confronted the boy. Here is my little speech:
"What is wrong with you?"
One of his friends said, "Uh, oh, she's coming after you," like it was funny. I don't think so, kid. My high school days are over and you can't out-cool me. I don't care if I'm cool. I'm establishment, now, buster.
Yes, that's right. I said "buster". I was ready to whip out some of that '30s moxy girl reporter on him.
The kid was staring at me now, looking slightly cowed. I must have looked fierce as I stared him down.
"You hit a person in the street," I lectured him. And then, thinking fast, "What would your mother say?"
Yes. I invoked his mother. That is how establishment I am. Where's my apron?
Well, and then I went away. That's all I had to say really. Plus, you know, throbbing temples from the blood alcohol content.
Anyway, I have never, ever confronted a random attack on the street (which I have had before) because it's an intrinically bad idea. After all, if they'll attack you once for sport, they'll do it twice for kicks.
But more importantly, I have never, ever, ever asked someone, rhetorically, what their mother would have thought. And to think, I'm only 27. Pretty soon I'll be saying "young man" to loud shh people in movie theaters.
China--and by this I mean the people, not the government--is upset at Japan--and by this I mean the government, the industry, the people, and the cuisine--for a supposed refusal to face up to history.
Fine. Japan is no Germany. But who wants to ritually flagellate themselves in public? (Okay, apart from Americans, who like to dredge up dark deeds from a dark past and nod sagely about how terrible it all was and how we're really really sorry and can we bomb your country now?)
Not to mention, more people were violently killed during the reign of the CCP than during the Japanese occupation. But no one in China likes to / can talk about that. (AND they can't read my blog.)
Anyway, all of that isn't my point. My point is that plently of Japanese are fully cognizant about their past and actually do quite a bit of self-flagellation.
And they love it! It's wildly popular.
It's called "Gundam" and it is the most disgustingly preachy peacenik show I have ever seen. Moreover it's been running in Japan for about twenty years now and is unescapable.
From the little I can bear to watch, there are big robot mechs flown by (mostly) very serious children whose hair defies gravity at all times. They have intense interpersonal relationships interspersed with giant space battles and long, passionate speeches about how war is wrong and just causes suffering and even the winners will only be depressed in the end.
This has gone on, unabated, for twenty years. From what I understand, anyway. I'm no expert, and the less I know about it, the better. But trust me, it's big.
The odd thing is that this show exists in China. I've seen it there, in VCD form. It's quite popular with kids (okay, mostly boys). So either they don't get the message (maybe they're watching just for the space battles, which would make plenty of sense since the rest of it is unwatcheable), or they're not sharing it with their self-righteous older siblings who are out marching in the streets to demand Japan do something about itself.
Okay, fine, I don't have a point. But I've had enough conversations with emotional Chinese people of all ages and backgrounds to know that there is very little behind this hatred other than simple misunderstanding and a lack of communication with actual Japanese people or culture or anything.
So, people of China who have somehow managed to read this through a proxy server: go eat some sushi and watch some Gundam.
And I leave you with this other thought: go and actually learn something about Japanese culture. You'll find much better reasons to hate it.
So I went to this dealership thing for the car I just bought.
Oh. Hey. While I was out, I bought a car. So now that you're caught up...
So I went to this dealership thing for the car I just bought. And it was a total waste of time. But anyway, there we all were standing around eating the abominable food when a guy asked about his mileage and why it had suddenly improved from when he bought the thing a month ago.
Oh. Incidentally the car I bought is a hybrid. So...most of our comments about the car tend towards what mileage we're getting, how to get better mileage, and what fantastic mileage other people are getting. It's just that kind of car.
So the dealer told him the same stupid thing everyone says at first: "oh you're just getting used to the car" or for the very stupid, "the car is just getting used to you." Actually I think he said this last one. Hilarious normally, but--
I piped up. This is an accurate way to describe my voice, incidentally, but I'm trying to speak louder. Anyway, I said, "Maybe it's the weather. It's hot out now." or something like that.
Nothing. No acknowledgement of any kind. Mind you, I was standing by his ear.
And the guy next to me said what I suppose to be the same thing. I couldn't hear a word. But everyone nodded and the mechanic said, "Yes, it could be the weather..."
So everyone's been ignoring me lately. But, you say, they just didn't hear you. Fine, they just didn't hear me. But let's just say there's been a lot of that going around lately.
Or rather, it serves as a lovely metaphor for earlier today, when people simply ignored me. I was at work, discussing matters of great urgency and importance, and people just rode right on through without listening to anything I said. All day. Absolutely insane. And there's simply no polite way to call them on it. You can only repeat yourself so many times before you're convinced it's not a hearing problem.
Maybe next time they do that, I'll just nod and say, "Yes, it may be the weather..."
Though not particularly verbose. Tired. Went to a convention for a weekend, hoping to make up time at work and see some nifty Asian Studies lectures, and ended up retaking all the time to sleep off the stress from running around to get food and books and see lectures, and of course, hardly heard anything interesting.
Except that the Daoist masters in China these days seem to be telling all to any stray foreigner that comes around asking questions. Honestly. I went to one lecture on it and now I feel practically an adept. I even saw a video of a ritual and then learned the secret characters of their captive spirit.
DISCLAIMER TO ALL DAOIST MASTERS READING MY BLOG:
Don't worry, fellas, I don't want your nasty old servant spirit anyway. Heck, Jesus and a whole pack of saints are willing to help me out for the price of a candle.
Also, how can you read this? I'm blocked in China.
Anyway, enough near-blasphemy. The point is I'm sleepy and weak and apparently a tiny tiny person. What's with Gap skirts? I feel like I'm swimming in the 0s.
NOTICE TO THE GAP:
Tiny people exist. You know this. Your pants fit (more or less) pretty well: the 0s are tiny, and you know we are often short. Yes, like Smurfs. Very cute. But to get back to the point, your skirts. They seem to exist in a universe of very large people, in a scale far beyond any seen on--yes. Or like munchkins. But you're not--. Okay, yes. Or pygmies.
LESSON: You can't argue with the Gap.
ALSO: I'm tiny.
And not in my full mind. Apologies all round, then. To religious figures, retail clothing stores, and smurfs, in particular. The rest of you--well, it's your fault for reading this far.
(If you didn't enjoy this blog, why not go over to my SUPERFLY page and not enjoy that? There's cannabalism....)
So I'm working my way through Finding Serenity and I came across a chapter discussing the Reavers. The author cites the legend of Sawney Beane as well as other cannabalistic stories (like the Donner Party), and delves into other recesses of Evil, like the Nazis. These, he says, are the inspirations/precursors/prototypes/whatever for Firefly's Reavers.
All well and good. But what happened to the Border Reevers?
Ah, the Border Reevers. You know...the raiding bandit tribes on the borders of civilization in old times in what is now Scotland? You can come across several pages on them if you do a Google search (and I have a much more colorful article on them two posts down), but here's a good source:
In the early 1600's the border between what is now Scotland and England was in constant turmoil. It was a no-mans land, where no one could live in peace, nor for that matter, maintain any semblence of a normal life. To survive, these occupants of no-mans land became "Border Reevers" (robbers), they turned to cattle, stealing, robbing, kidnapping, protectionism and fraud. This rugged way of life forged them into excellent frontiersman, guerrilla fighters, rogues, and scouts.
The King, however had no use for this type of people along his borders.
The most famous of the rogues or border clans were the Clans Armstrong, Bell, Grahams, and Johnstons. The most dangerous and notorious was the Clan Pringle.
Another likely source, though it's not PC today to talk about it, was the Native Americans on the frontier. Whether "Indian raiding parties" were really as frequent or as deadly as legend tells is immaterial: they were a constant fear to the settlers (many of the these, ironically, were likely Scots-Irish descended from the ancient Reevers).
Of course, I don't know Joss Whedon's mind. Heck, this is man who based a thoroughly evil ancient Chinese-eque big bad guy on a Disney character (the great and terrifying Shan Yu). So who am I to say? But it seems to me that these two sources--the actual name of "Reever" and legendary villains from the American West--are good best guesses.
Then again, looking on the Internet, "Reavers" and "Reevers" are everywhere in science fiction / fantasy, from role-playing to fanfic. So do these sources predate "Firefly"?
I think we can all agree, though: watch out for the pringles. They're gonna spring. Aaany day now.
(Aren't you glad I went for that over cannibalism?)
Incidentally, you have to wonder about Alexander Graham Bell. How evil were his ancestors? And Johnston and Johnston? That's two descendents of evil. What's my point? Hey, it's my blog and I can be absolutely ridiculous if I want to. Why are you even humoring me?