Nov 192005
 

While migrating everything over to my new web hosting company, I decided to take the opportunity to implement some other improvements that I’ve been putting off for awhile now:
1) Upgraded Gallery, Guestbook, and Blogging software to the latest versions
2) Implemented a guestbook spam protection “hack” which will hopefully stop all of the “buy viagra online” signatures that’ve been driving me crazy
3) Got rid of 99% of the “404: Page Not Found” errors (and made error pages that match the format of the rest of this site)
4) Placed a link to my web statistics in the navigation bar to the left
5) Added a custom address bar icon (Kiyomizu Dera, one of Kyoto’s most famous temples)

Although everything (hopefully) looks similar to before, all of this translated into my replacing a huge chunk of the site’s functional code. I tried to test it as best as I could but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if some stuff was still broken.

For those of you who are visiting via a shortcut, please be sure that it points only to the base URL – if you’re not sure, please delete your shortcut and re-bookmark the main page. There’s a possibility that some of you are directly accessing a .PHP URL, which could not only cause you problems but also eat up quite a bit more of my bandwidth than necessary.

Moving right along, I’d like to dedicate this first entry with my new host to a happy little theme I call “Moral Corruption.” I know, I know…you’re probably all thinking “Man, this is just what I need…I came here to see pictures and stories about Japan and I’m reading another one of those political rants!” Don’t worry, I assure you that this is indeed a story about Kyoto 🙂

Today US President George W. Bush came to visit my beautiful little city. He went on a sight seeing trip to Kinkakuji, the famous golden Buddhist temple a mere five minutes’ walk from my apartment, after waking up from a good night’s sleep at one of the guest houses inside the incredible Imperial Palace grounds. It sounds like he’s had quite a fantastic visit! And why wouldn’t he? He had over five thousand police officers from all over the country making sure that everything went just perfectly.

Think about that for a minute. Five thousand police officers. For the past three days officers from as far as Tokyo have been stopping foreigners for questioning, preventing students from passing through their usual short-cuts to school, and backing up traffic for miles. These are the very same police officers who in the past ten months have both escorted and participated in four very open, very active, very large anti-Bush rallies. That is to say, four that I happened upon while on my way to go study. Who knows how many there were nation-wide.

This is what I call moral corruption.

Since I arrived in Kyoto I haven’t witnessed so much as a single crime or fight break out. Sure, every once in awhile a drunken salaryman gets in someone’s face on his way home from the bar – but all it takes is a polite “Excuse me sir, I’m terribly sorry to bother you, but would you please mind heading home whenever possible?” from a nearby officer and the encounter comes to a quick halt.

Yet in the last three days I’ve seen more angry mobs than I’d like to admit. And it’s not just college students – it’s people young and old who refuse to stop yelling and protesting regardless of what threats the police throw their way. Coming from a country where people stop in their tracks and bow if they accidentally step on the heel of your shoe, I can scarcely believe that I’m still in Japan. This is what George W. Bush does to the world.

Interestingly, something similar happened during his first term when he went to visit Germany. As a result the German government sealed every manhole cover and placed everyone under house arrest for a five kilometer radius. One of my fellow exchange students expressed how pleased everyone in his neighborhood was when they were told their freedom was being taken away for the safety of the current American President.

Please note that (although I do disagree with them) I’m not complaining about his policies or anything of that nature. People often claim that “Bush doesn’t care about America, all he wants is oil money,” a notion that supporters strongly disagree with. While I personally agree that a large portion of his motivation does lie in profit, I wouldn’t say that he doesn’t care about America. To the contrary, I think that he cares too much about America. He doesn’t seem to see anything beyond his own borders.

I absolutely love traveling, and it really saddens me that I’ve had to start introducing myself as Canadian in many parts of the world – not because I’m ashamed of where I’m from, but because I’ve learned that people often hate me immediately upon learning that I’m an American. Whether or not he’s acting in the best interest of his country, I can’t support someone who’s so narrow-sighted that he turns the whole world against him and his nation.

Even on this very visit, one of the issues under discussion with Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi is the ban on American beef imports. He wants it lifted. Why, because we’ve proven that there’s no longer any risk of Mad Cow Disease and Koizumi no longer needs to worry about protecting the health of his nation? Of course not. Because he wants a piece of the Japanese economy, and because he said so. Japan’s citizens are not happy.

It just really grinds my gears see my peaceful town being torn apart by the very man who tore apart my country of birth. I guess it just goes to show that no matter where you go in the world George W. Bush still has the power to affect your daily life. No one man should have so much power. I only hope that when his reign is over the countries of the world can forgive America for its mistakes. Many of us really are quite sorry.

  7 Responses to “Moral Corruption”

  1. He is stopping here next……that should be fun

    Andy

  2. Oddly enough he hasn’t set foot in NYC in some time. Oh that’s right, because he would be surrounded by fifteen million people who hate him and the evil he stands for…

  3. Justin,
    I’m impressed with your maturing view of world politics, economics and how it relates to you. Excellent critical analysis. It’s obvious by your thoughtful entry that you are learning more than Japanese through this fabulous life experience.
    Thank you for your computer advice.
    Love,
    Irene

  4. My question is, how come NONE of those protests made the Japanese national news? Fuck censorship. It’s really dispicable. I say, more power to the protesters. Though I’m sorry they jama-ed up the whole city. I don’t know what the deal with with poilice presence in kyoto lately. Compared to two years ago, the place is craling with them now. *shudder*

  5. is this guy related to that usc tailback who just got 500 yards in a game, jeff?

  6. Now, don’t get me wrong right off the bat here: I’m not a big fan of Georgie-boy these days either. I definitely think it’s time for a change. BUT, the US has every right to ask for the Japanese to lift beef imports. Coming from where I do (Oklahoma), I have seen some of the effects of what is, honestly, a knee-jerk reaction to our fairly isolated American mad-cow “outbreak.” By which I mean people losing their jobs and homes. Considering how much beef this country produces versus one reported case of mad cow disease, and the lingering suspicion that the cow came from Canada anyway, and asking for one of our major trade partners to resume trade of one of our major exports might not be out of line.

    As for the police actions, I’ve spent the last three months in an honors class studying this very thing. It all depends on who you’re reading at the time, but the consensus on why all of those police were there will be not that George W. threw a hissy fit at the Japanese, but that the Japanese themselves are locked into a cycle of inferiority.

    Again, if I was asked to vote “thumbs-up, thumbs-down” on our President, I assure you he would be getting bad reviews from little ol’ Gameday. But it’s pretty ridiculous to put so much blame on the man when people have spent the last 5 years saying he’s too stupid to tie his own shoes, and that “The Administration” was doing all of his work for him.

    Wow. OK. I’m done. Thanks for the bandwidth, Justin.

  7. Yay, Gameday! Haha I was surprised that with such a controversial post (especially in comparison to my usual “oooh, look at the pretty flowers!”) no one else responded with any sort of disagreement.

    I’m actually taking a really interesting class this semester on globalization. I’m learning just as much as in the Minorities class last semester, only this time the teacher lets us not only have our own opinions, but actually encourages them! He even allows us to use the word “hysterical” in our essays. I nearly crapped my pants.

    Anyways, one of the things we’ve been talking a lot about is the concept of trade restrictions. While the pure definition of “globalization” implies a worldwide free market with no intervening government, all countries equal, and prices determined by pure competition this is obviously an impossibility – it’s ludicrous to say that some small country in Africa has as much say in trade policy as the United States.

    As a result of these inequalities many of the trade agreements that have been made with the US are stacked way unfairly in its favor – it pressures weak countries with threats of sanctions and witholding financial assistance.

    I’m not saying that in this beef situation it should or should not be signed; living in a community where people are losing their homes certainly puts a more human face on the problem; I’m just saying that the way the US conducts itself in the international marketplace is totally inappropriate. It shouldn’t be kicking around countries with less power and forcing them to sign treaties that will only further tip the balance of power.

    As a side note, I probably should’ve been more specific in my blog post: I know that many of the problems that are going on right now have existed since long before the Bush administration, and that he alone can’t bear all of the blame for the negative worldwide image that America has taken on. However the fact is he does have a HUGE say in who comprises his administration – and by electing ultra right-wingers with similar views to his own, it’s essentially the same as if he were making all of the decisions himself. I don’t believe that he’s a bumbling idiot in terms of being able to get things done. I think that he’s a bumbling idiot in terms of what it is he wants to get done.

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