May’s cheat sheet for Japan-side expat internet silliness.

Where do I even start?

I was listening to one of these [2,000 hit?] V-loggers, last night, prattle on about either the Debito Arudou Microagressions piece in Japan Times, or something from the Adelstein-Johnson mini-feud. (That one is, itself, an offshoot of some dispute between Chris Johnson and David Schaufele of NHK, that goes back five years.)

Meanwhile, there appear to have been a few volleys thrown out there by one side of the Left Behind Parents, which will, no doubt lead to something hard back.

To round off, one of the Tepido Twelve sought to be “friended” by Arudou, and then, once in, proceeded to paste people’s conversations about US State Department developments on his personal website. [Update 5/16/2012: Per the comment below, Ken Y-N says that the particular Facebook post was set to "public", and so it was a matter of the commenters not realizing that their remarks would be open. So I revise what I say here: One of the Tepido Twelve decided it would be worthwhile to cut-and-paste a discussion he sought out on Debito's open feed, and make an issue about things said in it. It was an endeavor by one of the gang to shut down any dialog involving Arudou Debito and his internet presence, by targeting people who post at an Aldwinckle-provided forum. This is consistent with what the Tepido website had done since the summer of 2010.]

Not every actor in these exchanges is in Japan, but this is what passes for social activity for a sizeable number of foreigners in that country.

First the Vlogging. It was at a site that I have caught before, one of these where, like, six thousand people allegedly tune in, and I thought the topic was to enlighten me to some new angle about the things being discussed in the J-side expat gossip blogosphere. But what it turned out to be was a boring monologue, almost, about how these guys don’t like the fact that other people have complaints about Japan. Good God, give it a rest! I can’t believe they set up cameras and invited a woman to be a part of the “live” event, where she ends up maybe getting 30 seconds of comment out of 20 minutes. Myself, I would be really embarrassed if I invited someone to take part in some video session, and then made them sit there and listen to me. But that’s just me, maybe.

If I had to set up You Tube and try to convince you regularly that I have some expertise, having spent some time in Japan, that would be pretty pathetic. You catch two or three of the installments, and you start to see the pattern. You also realize, you’re never getting that time back. I’m making it a point to seek out the Japan-side Vloggers who get something along the lines of 45 or 50 hits on their videos after a week. I think they probably have more to say, and more interesting things.

Johnson-Adelstein this week revolved around whether TEPCO, the Japanese electric company that owns the Fukushima nuclear plants, was nationalized or not. Only one news source seemed to get it right, [more are], that TEPCO was effectively nationalized. Chris Johnson had made a comment, somewhere, in criticizing Adelstein, that TEPCO had not been nationalized in January (contrary to some interpretation of the Atlantic Wire piece), and so that small gang went at it as to whether Adelstein was vindicated by the “nationalization” (inflation of shares against the current owners, in favor of the government) that will be occurring as a result of this week’s decision in Tokyo.

What I took from all of that was that the Yakuza had no significant role in the fact that TEPCO is broke, and that the government of Japan has to come in, and recapitalize. (As I say, by having TEPCO issue a ton of shares back to the government in return for hard cash, and for backstopping liability claims for Fukushima.) Johnson had made an off-hand remark, that turned out to be wrong in a large sense (but technically right), and that was all the excuse certain people needed.

An offshoot of this month’s bullying of Johnson has to do with a family in Chiba who was raising money on the internet to move out of Chiba, allegedly because of all the radiation. The talk is that $7,500 had been raised online, when a website that dedicates itself to going at people who talk about Fukushima radiation decided that the whole endeavor was a fraud. I don’t know enough about the story, but am amazed by these people who, one day, are vociferously advocating freedom on the internet; then, the next thing you know, they are criticizing someone else’s use of the internet as that other person sees fit. It’s ha[r]d to make heads or tails, but it sounds like that group believes the internet exists to serve their freedoms, but not others’ . . .

Arudou Debito’s Microaggressions piece in the Japan Times was well received by many followers who don’t actively engage in his website. This apparently twisted the socks of the Tepido gang into knots, and so, I suppose, they decided to double-up on their denunciations of Arudou. Now, they claim to be “fact checkers” of whatever Arudou publishes, whenever, where-ever. Before, their purpose was allegedly to “save the newbies” who may be influenced by Debito. Someone probably finally realized that the “newbies” to Japan have internet access before they go there, and so are hip to the whole scene.

One of the posters associated with the Tepido group managed to trick Arudou into making him a Facebook friend, and proceeded to post private threads about recent Left Behind Parent developments at the U.S. State Department. The guy raising money on the internet to get his family out of Chiba is somehow a “fraud”; but a participant in the Tepido site who decides to make up a fictitious name to hack Debito’s Facebook account (where, incidentally, the better dialogue is nowadays) is not, somehow, a fraudster. Figure that one out. [Update 5/16/12: Again, here the situation out of the Tepido group was not fraud, but mischief.]

I go over this all, point by point, to show you, once again, that a lot of what foreigners do in Japan is make up their own rules about what is and is not acceptable, or legal, or socially desirable, in Japan. They seldom rely on what is actually legal, or what the Japanese would themselves like to have the foreign community do. I am almost certain that the Japanese community would not want to have these guys doing “Japan” any “favors” with their constant bickering and online skirmishes, and the full-of-themselves pontificating. What do you think?

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7 thoughts on “May’s cheat sheet for Japan-side expat internet silliness.

  1. I don’t have anything profound to say on this, and to be honest I tuned out the various scraps a while ago – but all in all these situations are ones where no-one is coming out looking good. I learned my lesson about getting involved in this kind of thing in my big daikon days :-)

    • Ahh, Big Daikon. Those were the days. We had a ‘Troll Contest’. It ended about as well as you would expect.

      Just found this blog. Glad I have. Also glad it’s not just me who feels the same sense of ennui about much of this little corner of the web. KUTGW

  2. Tepido have become a pack of obssessive rabid dogs in recent times.
    Given Ken Yasumoto-Nicolson’s employer is well known, I’m surprised he has stooped as low as he has in recent times, especially when that employer has been bleeding red ink, and is presumably looking for excuses to cut headcount.

  3. Hoofin’, that particular thread on Mr Arudou’s Facebook was publicly shared. There was no fraud, and certainly no hack of Mr Arudou’s account. Furthermore, it was Sora who cut’n’pasted the thread, and he himself is Japanese.

  4. Sora is not Japanese. He has been called out so many times on the fact that when he wants to, he can write perfect English, and then at other times he makes erratic errors. As for his Japanese, sure, he knows lots of Kanji, and really ‘bookish’ grammar, but try writing in spoken Japanese (like most Japanese when they e-mail; no particles, etc), and he doesn’t have a clue and all of a sudden he wants to ‘correct’ your sentences into something far too convoluted. He comes across as one of these State-side kanji freaks, who maybe studied in Japan for a year.
    If you call him out on this at Tepido, KY Jelly will ban you.

  5. @ kynicolson: you are a true [deleted] (forget Sora) – Seriously do your wife and child know that you spend all this time blogging and obsessing over Debito? It’s pretty creepy! Panasonic might need to know this info too since it appears you do it all day long at work too.

    Perhaps if you spent all this effort making your own life better in Japan (versus dedicating hours of it to what Debito says) you might make a small change for other foreigners… imagine your creepy stalker energy put to better use!

    PS – I’ve heard rumors that there is going to be a major international law suit – against you and other trolls. If I were you I would start taking down your slander sites pretty quick before the lawyers starting printing it out…

    • Don’t really know, but my guess is that under Japanese law, you can’t set up some mirror website with the purpose of having people make a lot of comments that mostly go to attacking the reputation of a person with a website. Even in America, that sort of thing is a borderline free speech / harassment issue.

      It will be interesting to see if anyone does do anything about it in the future. I hear that F***ed Gaijin is being shut down for similar concerns. As guests in the host country, wouldn’t someone think first to find out if that sort of behavior is actually acceptable in the guest’s own codes of behaviors (never mind, even, their laws?)

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