Thursday, March 16, 2017

Bee Stings vs Bullet Wounds: Toshiba continues to sponsor Sazae-san

When Smoke & Mirrors Are Just What the Doctor Ordered.

Toshiba.  The only brand of laptop computer I ever consider, is in a boatload of trouble.  What kind of trouble?  You might say it's of the Enron variety (AKA forgetting how GAAP / IFRS works and hoping nobody notices.  Someone will always notice, by the way). 

 This is totally what every accountant in Japan looks like, I am an expert.

While this proved fatal for Enron, it is unlikely that Toshiba will cease to exist any time soon.  Sure this is a hit to Toshiba and to Japan itself, but not a fatal one. Japan has already had a revolving door of Prime Ministers ever since Japanese Tony Blair left office (yeah I said it) and that didn't bring the place down. It's probably not going to come to Abe stepping down early, though he ain't gonna be around after the next election.  But Japan is still relatively healthy compared to the rest of the region, and these developments are bee stings rather than bullet wounds.

This is totally what every bee in Japan looks like, I am an expert

Like any bee sting, getting one or two is something you can shrug off, however, once they start adding up, things get really serious really fast.  Right now, Japan has so much egg on its face that it's 50% sentient omelette at this point, and it has found itself having to choose between a frying pan and a fire. There is a serious government scandal going on stemming from the Ultra-Nationalist School land deal in Osaka Pref., there's another serious government scandal going on regarding GSDF activities in South Sudan (both with Defense Minister Tomomi Inada in the middle of the mess), yet she is continuously supported by the very unpopular PM Shinzo Abe.  This all floats atop a barge of private sector embarrassment made up of everything from the airbag safety recalls to radioactive pigs. All the while; the Norkos have declared war on the ocean again and have decided that Assassin's Creed IRL is just super-fun, South Korea is under attack from its own appliances and just removed its president from office for being terrible, China just unfriended everyone because they won't stop hanging out with their hated ex (Taiwan), The Philippines is encouraging its law enforcement to shoot people in the street, it wasn't really that long ago when cities in Thailand were mostly on fire, and a walking used condom full of melted creamsicle and ADHD just pulled the USA out of the TPP (which had its shortcomings, but just pulling out is like choosing to stay stranded in Death Valley because the rescue vehicle is a Ford F-450 and you're a die hard Chevy fan).  So... yeah, things are going just peachy-keen.

 This is the correct response.

The result of all of this can be a real and tangible detriment to many sociological and economic facets of a population.  Outlook, consumer spending, stress, overall health, cost of living, investment strategies, isolationism, and an overall feeling of anxiety that can permeate daily life are all areas in which regular people are effected. Stability in global trade, politics, and technology aren't things that are easily accomplished, but cultural stability is something that can be delivered and often helps keep people grounded, if only just a little, and improves overall quality of life even if it is just by drawing appreciation to the little things.

Joy in the little things is not only the theme of the world's longest running animated series, and Japanese cultural institution, Sazae-san, but also the source of its great importance and relevance to people today.   Sazae-san is the type of anime that Japanese audiences love and international audiences don't pay attention to because it's like the most boringest one when compared to something like Attack on Titan.  The thing is it trounces just about every other anime title out there in ratings every week because it's very relatable if you live in Japan. It's something your grandparents watched, it's something your parents watched, and it's something you grew up watching.  It can't go away.  Having it around is important and helpful for keeping people within some modicum of the life-patterns they are accustomed to.  After my first few months living in Tokyo I was watching it on a regular basis.  Side note; it's a great way to practice Japanese because the dialogue isn't that intensely complex, and contains less slang than something like Shinchan.  Whether it is because of a profound sense of national duty, or they are just trying not to look weak, Toshiba is doing a public service for Japan by continuing to sponsor Sazae-san.

Keeping Japan from losing it's shit, one episode at a time.

I have noted before that anime as an industry is inexorably tied to other economic sectors, and here is a major example of that.  A shakeup in the bond issuance of a technology company came close enough to killing Sazae-san that it became major news.

This is not an example of putting on blinders to the realities of the world, or a tool in some sort of propaganda fueled denial of factualities that grow dangerous if ignored.  This is staying grounded in the face of uncertainty.  It is a needed mental supplement to prevent the kind of bad news burn-out that can have detrimental effects. Anime has almost always been that, no matter what the genre or setting.  It's a fun thing to do, and the healthy escapism it provides makes you realize, such is life.

Not bad for a 94 year old.

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