Paying for Pleasance

One of the many cultural curiosities about Japan that I was never able to understand while living there was the existence of hostess bars and clubs. Such places are found all over the world but tend to be hidden from view if you aren’t looking for one. In Japan, it is pretty hard not to notice them even in the smallest towns you might visit. One would assume (and I did), that these are fronts for prostitution but that is not quite the truth.  Though I’m sure this is not unknown, the main point of them seems to be providing men with a nice, pretty female companion to talk to while they drink. 

This isn’t any sort of perverse charity as the men who go to these places do pay a great deal of money but the abundance of these places suggest they are popularly frequented by men from multiple economic classes. I never went into one (at least as far as I know), or had any of these experiences but I did hear about them from time to time through whispers from Japanese colleagues or more openly from other foreigners.

When I first heard about these I remember wondering aloud why anyone would pay to talk to a woman. And often added jocularly that I would gladly pay not to. I assumed that they were actually paying for more than friendly chat and that this was just hidden behind another veil. As state above, this is not the case and most of these bars simply provide men a place to go and chat to a girl with a strong financial incentive to be friendly.

In the course of writing this, I went and read an overview on Wikipedia and nothing I wrote above seems far from the information I’d gleaned while living there. My suspicions about how foreign (mostly Filipino) girls are used in these clubs were confirmed. Though it was interesting to learn that steering conversations into sexual territory will see patrons removed from the clubs. 

One of the other aspects I’ve noticed about Japan reflected in literature and popular culture is the nasty streak found in many Japanese women which I have written about. The first apartment complex I lived in had a woman that growled like a wounded dog at her family every other night. I have witnessed or heard plenty of tantrums in my time there. Japanese men work grueling hours often from very early to very late in the evening and often on weekends too. Many would come back looking forward to a hot bath and hot meal but instead come home to a hot tempered harpy. 

It was connecting the existence of these clubs with the reality of home life that led me understand why men are willing to pay a premium to have a little pleasant female companionship after work. It also partially explains there willingness to endure very long working hours the way they do. It should go without saying that I don’t condone men going to clubs like these (or any other similar establishments) but I do now understand why there is a market for them. 

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A Long Short Journey

One of my goals for this year was to read Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, yet another book I have had on my shelf for many years and had yet to read. But also a much beloved and recommended classic. I generally have a habit with novels that once I set myself to one, I do not want to be distracted by another until it is done. This means I’m often reluctant to start longer works as I will (with rare exceptions), commit myself to seeing them until the end regardless of whether I am enjoying them or not. In the case of Don Quixote though, I began reading it at the beginning of the year and got only a few chapters in.

Unlike many longer works, there isn’t much early commitment needed before it becomes enjoyable. It was both engaging and entertaining from the outset. I did quickly become distracted though and opted instead to read it on my daily commutes rather than in the manner I described above. After completing the novel early last week, I think I made the right choice as the somewhat episodic structure lends itself to that. So I very slowly worked my way through the book at one or two chapters a day; only occasionally taking breaks with shorter works in-between. 

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Force and Discomfort

There has been a lot misuse recently of the idea of “being forced”. That is the subtle but important difference between “being forced” and “being compelled” or “coerced”. With the way dictionary definitions are being changed this is not completely surprising but this is not really about the way words are being changed to mean something else. Words also do come to mean different things so this post is not simple pedantry about the precise meaning of words. I know force isn’t just physical too but the use of the word can be misleading. 

What many are facing right now — or are likely to soon face is a choice between a dangerous and unnecessary gene therapy that doesn’t work and their job. This is of course for their health and safety even though depriving someone of an income will in short turn deprive them or food and shelter which are both necessities for health and safety. Regardless of your views on this matter, such a threat is a contradiction of what governments around the world have used to claim unprecedented powers over our bodies. That is to keep us safe and healthy. 

Now let us break this down to make what is happening very clear:

  • People work in order to earn income for food and shelter.
  • Food and shelter is most responsible for keeping people healthy and safe.
  • You will lose your job if you don’t take a “vaccine” for your health and safety.
  • Losing your job will mean no income for food and shelter. 
  • You will no longer have health or safety.

I probably haven’t put this as succinctly as I’m sure others could but it still cuts to the point. This is evil entirely on its own and should be disobeyed regardless of the consequences. This is without considering the efficacy or necessity of the vaccine or anything else behind it. I have a whole list of reasons why I don’t want to and don’t think anyone else should take the vaccine but threatening someone’s livelihood and ability to support their family alone is enough to know I shouldn’t. 

Now to get to the point: is being under this threat the same as being forced to take it?

No.

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The Last Years of America

Top Gun was a a staple movie of my household growing up. It was one of the first VHS tapes I remember my father buying and he used to play it over and over again — but I don’t remember ever getting sick of it. Our copy was quite literally watched to death. He also had the soundtrack on CD which was also destroyed through repeated use on our component CD player when people still had those. Everything about the film and my memories of it ooze with 80s charm. A time when America’s long decline was masked by masculine machismo, rock, finance and a pageantry of excess. 

Like many films you watch when you’re young, there’s a lot that flies over your head and Top Gun is certainly one of those movies. What follows is some thoughts on the movie that I have been intending to write for quite a while. With the long anticipated and probably unnecessary sequel landing last this next year, it is probably best to get it out now as it might never come out.

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The Example of Eleazar

The First and Second Books of Maccabees are the last books of the Old Testament and detail the resistance of the Jews to the Seleucid Empire under Antiochus IV. I was completely unfamiliar with them until I began preparing to be received into the Catholic Church because they weren’t in my Anglican Church Bible as most Protestants deny their canonicity. Both cover a lot and probably the most famous is the resistance of Judas Maccabeus to the Hellene invaders. 

What is more relevant to our times is the martyrdom of Eleazar which I will get to soon. 

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Commentary on Vox’s Top 10 Novels

This was written over seven years ago and may be out of date given both time and the volumes of literature Vox Day seems to go through each year. However, having seen this some years ago. I set myself a long-term goal to read all these works which I finally completed this month. What follows will be some brief commentary on each one. 

 

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Backing the Blue

I won’t pretend I’ve never had trouble with the police and some lingering resentment as a result of that. In my first few years of driving I ended up with a number of small fines and a loss of license. The three or four I received were all for speeding and the latter came for not displaying my provisional license plates. I made a successful appeal but it meant waiting three instead of two years for my full license. Most of this was youthful stupidity. I was careless, I tried to impress friends and I did plenty of foolish things the police didn’t call me out on so part of me thinks I got off rather lightly. 

From this experience I developed a resentment towards the revenue raising that seemed to be the focus of traffic police. With growing maturity, I ceased to feel this way and instead blamed myself for breaking the rules, regardless of whether they were fair or not. It is now getting close to twenty years since my last run in with the police. The last time I can remember being in trouble was for going through a stop sign on a quiet night and I was let off with a warning after admitting it.

Something important to keep in mind before getting into the meat of this post is that most people who have had bad experiences with police have a serious chip on their shoulder. That is not to say police are never unreasonable, rude or simply overzealous in their duties, just that many people are rude or unreasonable or simply looking for trouble in encounters with police. This really applies to everyone but being polite to police is the first step and this is especially the case if you have actually done something wrong. This is not excusing bad or unprofessional behaviour, it is just a pragmatic way to go about dealing with authority in general.

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Our Empty Overlords

“We know of periods in the history of many nations in which profound upheavals in cultural processes led to a surge of the merely talented into leading position in communities, schools, academies, and governments. Highly talented people sat in all sorts of posts, but they were people who wanted to rule without being able to serve. Certainly it is often very difficult to recognise such people in good time, before they have entrenched themselves in the intellectual professions. It is equally difficult to treat them with the necessary ruthlessness and send them back to other occupations.”

Hermann Hesse

The context of this is from the second of three short stories known as “Lives” in Hesse’s The Glass Bead Game. The novel if nothing else (and it is something else), is interesting as Hesse wrote these three short stories and poetry as authored by the fictional protagonist of the main story, Joseph Knecht. Hesse wrote the novel during the 1940s while in Switzerland and the immediate thoughts of those who read it will jump to those in power in Germany at the time. Reading it today though, my mind immediately jumped to the current world’s politicians, bureaucrats, media and corporate officials. 

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Dated Relevance

Idiocracy is a film by Mike Judge who is well known for the animations Beavis and Butt-Head, King of the Hill and his other cult classic film Office Space. I was only vaguely familiar with these properties and only came to appreciate the latter more recently. Idiocracy was recommended to me by an American I met in my early years in Japan. This person was a liberal (in the American sense) and this was around the end of the George W. Bush Presidency. The film was also released in 2006 which was when Bush’s presidency had reached its zenith and was going down fast. Although I never liked George W. Bush or neoconservatives, I didn’t like the frequently obnoxious American liberals any better (friend excepted). As I have said before, mine was a lonely position back then. It also meant I was put off the film because I assumed it would be an unsubtle attack on the type of Americans that unfortunately tended to support Bush and his wars but generally weren’t bad people otherwise. This assumption wasn’t completely wrong but there is a lot more depth in Idiocracy than I assumed initially. 

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The Last Seemingly Legitimate Election

The last few years have highlighted just how little control most Westerners have over their governments. There are plenty of examples in the past though, most notably with immigration where governments either ignore popular opinion or pay lip service to it with token gestures that do nothing to halt the influx. For the “citation needed” crowd, just go and look how popular increased immigration was in Britain before ignoring popular opinion, relentless propaganda, lawfare and eventual demographic changes made it permanent. I’d be you could choose almost any nation and get a similar sample.  For Australia, you could also consider that the government has repeatedly refused a popular plebiscite on the issue. Something I doubt would have happened if they didn’t have good knowledge of what the result would be and that they would also be compelled to act on it. For another minor example, you could observe that the Australian government seems far more concerned with following international law than our own

Although most still see the system as one that works, I’ve now long been disenchanted with it. And I used to be someone that believed wasting your vote was wrong because it really did matter. I believed that the system worked and that politicians genuinely (for the most part), followed the will of the people. The last time I remember thinking it did work was in 2007 when Kevin Rudd became Prime Minister. He faced John Howard who had been in power for over a decade. I did not like Kevin Rudd then and do not now. I don’t now think much of John Howard either. At the time though, it seemed to me like a genuine political contest decided by real Australians. In short, it was the last election that seemed legitimate even though the side I then preferred lost. Continue reading

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