Aug. 14th, 2009

I wince and have to leave the room when American politics does stuff like this. Not so with Japan, apparently! I guess I don’t take it so personally.

Japan’s Happiness Party plans to attack North Korea

Urging the “immediate” amendment of the pacifist article 9 of the constitution, Mrs Okawa, 43, said: “So-called pacifism in Japan will let other countries easily kill Japanese people. We believe that we have a responsibility to protect the lives of the people in Japan.

“If we think about our goal for creating global utopia on this planet, pacifism won’t help.” Such an amendment would pave the way for Japan to deal with the growing military threat to national security presented by its neighbours, added Mrs Okawa, who according to the organisation’s literature is a reincarnation of Florence Nightingale and the Greek goddess Aphrodite.

They’re sort of like if the Libertarian Party and the Scientologists merged to form a bigger robot. My understanding is that they started out as a religion called “Happy Science” (Ohkawa Kyoko’s husband Ryuho being the reincarnation of Buddha, with whom Florence Nightingale is apparently down) made a lot of money selling books, and then went into politics. The sort of politics where you blow up North Korea! Ohkawa Ryuho claims that Kim Jong Il’s guardian angel has betrayed him and is reporting Kim’s plans to him (Ryuho). I hear he got the idea from Phantom-Thief Jeanne.

They send out gaisensha (街宣車), or sound trucks, which are basically trucks with loudspeakers mounted on top. If you look the word “gaisensha” up in EDICT, it’ll say “right-wing propaganda truck” - they’re used to advertise more normal stuff, too, but my impression is that the outlier political groups are particularly enamored of loudspeaker technology. Most gaisensha are pretty aggressive-looking, with lots of black and yellow and stuff. The Happiness Realization ones have a soothing blue color scheme, like they’re selling handsoap. Judging from the description, the person who posted that video thought the truck was pretty funny.

There was a really alarming truck going around Shibata in the spring that ended half its sentences with “Tomerarenai!” I generally can’t follow what the gaisensha are saying, but “Can’t stop! Can’t stop! Can’t stop!” kind of stood out. I never got a good look at the truck itself, but the speaker was a woman, which is unusual, so it might have been a Happiness Realization truck. There are some videos of them on YouTube - if someone with a working sound card wants to look at them and tell me if they say “Tomerarenai,” I would be interested in knowing who or what they cannot stop. I’m assuming that whoever that was was not, in fact, referring to hammer time.

They also made an ad that’s a “hypothetical story” about North Korea nuking Japan. As the little doomed salaryman peers out the window at the oncoming nuke, he thinks, “If only I had voted Happiness Realization!” It’s classy stuff.

(Crossposted to SarahPin.com, Dreamwidth, and LiveJournal. You can leave comments at whichever.)

Kate Daniels is a grumpy, frequently broke mercenary wizard living in a world in which some days magic works and technology doesn’t, and some days vice-versa. The allegedly benevolent Order of Knights of Merciful Aid have been trying to recruit for years, something she’s resisted because she “can’t deal with hiearchy,” and because she thinks that they maybe kinda kill people too much. But when her closest friend, a Knight named Greg, is murdered, the only way she can investigate is to make a deal with the Order. And then also some necromancers, and werecreatures.

I’ve read so many urban fantasies over the past couple months that I find myself able to review them only in the Ticky Box format. (no spoilers)

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(Crossposted to SarahPin.com, Dreamwidth, and LiveJournal. You can leave comments at whichever.)

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