In the U.S., the majority of criminal cases are resolved via a plea bargain — a practice that has been in place for decades. Plea bargains aren’t globally ubiquitous, however; Japan only introduced the method in June 2018 for matters involving bribery and/or organized crime, and the nation’s first case to be resolved via plea bargain made headlines in mid-July.… [Read more]
No country has more faith in the power of an adorable mascot than Japan. Their talisman-like powers have been employed in almost every walk of life: museums, theme parks, tourist attractions, festivals, and even whole cities. What is it about these mascots that make it appropriate for them to be as superfluous in a society as dedicated to serious work as Japan?… [Read more]
In a publicity stunt so ridiculous it could have been cooked up by Glenn Beck, former Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara has suggested that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe build a lighthouse on the disputed Pinnacle Islands. This move, he claims, would help break the political stalemate that Japan and China have been sitting in for the last year, thereby improving the situation, somehow.… [Read more]
Dear Mrs. Vera,
Will the Fukushima nuclear plant destroy the world?
Yours Sincerely, Leó Szilárd, Budapest, Hungary
Dear Louis Lizard and all my troubled readers fearing the end of the world before they ever get to see Belgium up close in person and say “Walloon” a lot,
Don’t panic. Let’s all just quickly, quietly and in an orderly manner proceed to the sub-sub basement while thinking centered thoughts about frolicking, boiling dolphins fleeing the Pacific Ocean, um, er, I mean contented piles of algae growing slowly on the shores of Antarctica, as we make our way to the panic room/world headquarters in our new exciting subterranean mise-en-scene, before finally drawing a deep breath and relaxing.… [Read more]
The old adage “generals always fight the last war, especially if they’ve won it” applies not only to the military and war, but to almost all aspects of human conflict and interaction, such as diplomacy. Paradigms often change right underneath the noses of so-called “experts” or policymakers.
In regards to foreign policy, in the late ’90s, while everyone was staring through the prism of the Soviet-U.S.… [Read more]
Despite the armchair psychology, while Newtown school mass murderer Adam Lanza was probably rather off upstairs, National Rifle Association CEO and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre isn’t a psychopath. He’s a million-dollar-a-year shill in a nice bespoke suit who seems to know which side of the toast the butter’s on. His idea of a flannel outdoorsy shirt probably has a Brooks Brothers label.… [Read more]
Striving towards becoming borderless involves traveling the world. How else can one really experience a culture without visiting?
Tomorrow is my last day here and the heat and humidity was definitely my biggest surprise. I travelled throughout the country and everywhere it was over 90 degrees with 70 % humidity. Obviously good preparation for Cambodia where the heat index is forecast to be about 110-115 degrees next week.… [Read more]