Brief note: Tepido.org gang finally realizes that Debito Arudou is in Hawaii, which most associates already knew . . .

This was a chuckle. The small gang who post at the Tepido Naruhodo website, who I’ve mentioned about from time to time, and who occasionally visit, learned the truth (or, as it’s reflected there almost: THE TRUTH!!!!) that Arudou Debito no longer is living in Japan, and is in Hawaii. This is evidenced by a footnote in Japan Times, for which Arudou is a columnist.

I had been wondering how long it was going to take those guys to catch up to their target. (I am saying “target” in the most general of senses.) Well, it looks like they did.

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9 comments

  1. Johnny · February 7, 2012

    Good luck to Debito, but any idea why he didn’t disclose this ages ago?

    • hoofin · February 7, 2012

      No, and when I get told something in confidence, I make like I don’t know it anyway.

      My guess would be that, with a website that was dedicated to, well, following his whereabouts, he—like many people would—decided that the best course of action was not to say where he was or what he was doing. Make sense?

  2. Johnny · February 7, 2012

    Plausible but for a lot of people, myself included, the non-disclosure led to a credibility gap.Still he is within his rights to do what he has done.

    Interesting to see that he is now married as well.

    • hoofin · February 7, 2012

      Yes, I can see where people would take varying opinions, given that this is someone who has written a lot about Japan, as a non-native. For [some of] them, it’s like a chapter missing from a serial running in a magazine.

      Oh, you didn’t know the married part, either?

  3. Mie Nona · February 7, 2012

    I too see a credibility problem. I don’t particularly care where Debito lives – Canada, Hawaii or Japan. However it has been fairly widely known for some time now that he was no longer living in Japan, and yet he has been writing as though he still was. Even his latest for JT, out today, says “I have lived in Japan for 25 years”. Pretty much anyone who read that would think “Oh, he lives in Japan.” He doesn’t, and has not for some time now.

    True, Debito is under no obligation to say exactly where he is or what he is doing, but he has fairly consistently in his writings over the past year phrased things in such a way as to appear to be in Japan. Content-wise it has been very obvious that he has not been in Japan, and has not been keeping up with what has been going on, at least not to the level one would expect of a Japanese national living in Japan. If he had been more up front about his actual situation, it would have made his perspective clear: an overseas blogger reporting secondhand on issues in Japan. Instead he has been trying to portray himself as a Japanese blogger reporting firsthand.

    There is a world of difference between those two.

    • hoofin · February 7, 2012

      I disagree. I think his being discreet under the circumstances was the better course, although–and I know I’ve said it before (among the 2800 posts here)–the reality that Debito left Japan and his old school was its own compelling story. [Of course, this was said along the lines of “if what you say is so”. But I had known that he was in Canada. One of theirs had phoned me on the net, it seemed, to poke around a bit about what I knew. It was along the lines of “we think he’s in Canada because we dug into where he is shipping things.” I promised not to say about that call, but I wasn’t about to confirm what I had known. It’s highly doubtful to me, though, that the gang knew about the plan to take up the research in Hawaii.]

      If I can summarize what the Tepido gang seemed to protest, was the fact that Arudou used “we” and the past participle in a way that could be interpreted as Debito being in Hokkaido. “We”, in his case, could also mean people who hold a Japanese passport. I am not sure how “have lived” becomes a weasel phrase of sorts. There is “have been living”, which is past perfect continuous. “Have lived” and “have been living” are two different ideas, and I don’t think most people get them confused. “I have heard” (which is a lot of what goes on at the other site) means “I heard”, with no sense of continuity. The people who comment at the Tepido site often misread things, or misinterpret them. Even when they bring back to me, for example, things they said that I said, I have to show them, no, no, it’s not that! There was an extreme case out of there concerning Rene Juan Jerez of Northern California (“Senor Science”), who decided to set up an offshoot blog doing Tepido-style “checking” with the help of fellow JET Laura Cardwell of upstate New York. Other than point out their inaccuracies (which they never bothered to take down), there was very little I could do.

      The Tepido contributors tend to be very selective in what they take from their reading. Either that, or they are just forgetful. It used to be that reading comprehension like that was the fault of the reader, not the writer.

  4. hoofin · February 9, 2012

    The other recurring problem over at Tepido is that, for guys on the look out for the “facts”, they tend to do a lot of fill-in for the parts they don’t really know. Plus, they make over-the-top conclusions based off very little input. No one is always wrong. But then, no one is always right. Some examples:

    One of them has me as having said that none of them were aware that David Aldwinckle (Arudou Debito) was in Canada. No, I did not say that above. What I said was no longer in Japan. AND he is in Hawaii. If they read me just a few days ago, they would have seen that I acknowledged what was pretty well known, that Aldwinckle had gone to Canada. Then, this goes on with something about saying “married” or “remarried”. When you are re-married, you are married.

    Then, I think another of them goes back to a post I did about how a 6% return over 380 years yields billions of dollars. (This was in the context of the Dutch purchase of Manhattan Island in 1626.) It was twisted into “felt the Indians should lose America because they weren’t doing anything with it.” If I recall the original blog post, it either was inspired, or had to do with, a New York Times Science Times piece [from 1986–half of them probably weren’t born and the other half aren’t at the reading level] about how the Lenne Lenape gradually increased the price for modern-day New York, and that the original $24 only covered the southern tip of Manhattan, which was swamp and useless as a hunting ground. It’s also fairly well known that the compound interest story comes out of an accounting text in wide usage during the 1980’s. (But I guess if you are a site dedicated to allowing know-it-alls to go off on anyone, maybe you don’t know that.)

    The kind of guilt-by-association treatment would not be taken too kindly, if the shoe were on the other foot. A few weeks back, they linked to a white supremicist podcast (the so-called “Voice of Reason”), because one of the commentators at that site had something negative to say about Arudou Debito. It was in the context of his “agitating” (not a direct quote) against the majority race in Japan, versus what activists do in America. Then, they speculated as to whether Debito was Jewish or not.

    When you listen to those types, you need to understand the code language and the framework, which I don’t think someone from Scotland may know. But they basically were making Debito out to be a “troublemaker Jew”, going to Japan and trying to change what the racial majority there wanted.

    Now, people have their right to say, and a link does not, or at least, should not imply endorsement. But if you’re trying to run a site that purports to debunk someone else’s opinion, do you really use garbage like that, “just because it’s out there?” Thankfully, people aren’t saying that Tepido advocates or endorses racial supremacy—as evidenced by his “support” of Voice of Reason. But that sort of analogy would be utterly fair to a number of the people who post there.

  5. Jane Grey. · February 11, 2012

    Hoofin, your comments on this issue are much a much appreciated moment of sanity re: the ongoing relationship of the debito/tepido sites. But I fear that your reasonable approach will be rewarded with insults.

  6. hoofin · February 12, 2012

    Thanks for your comment. I’ve previously received a number of insults from that direction, and I just take it from the source. Plus I listen to the Dave Mason song. They should, too.

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