My AP Stories 2022

Here goes with My AP Stories in 2022. My AP Stories for 2021 and more links there for the previous years.

My AP Story May 13, 2022 on Nissan mulling a third auto plant in the U.S.

My AP Story May 11, 2022 about Wim Wenders making a film about fancy public restrooms in Japan.

My AP Story May 6, 2022 on musicians coming together in a video collaboration for Ukraine.

My AP Story April 27, 2022 on a Japan railway powered entirely by renewable energy.

My AP Story April 21, 2022 about U.S. drone company Zipline starting to deliver medicine in Japan.

My AP Story April 20, 2022 on an Ukrainian opera singer praying for peace through song.

My AP Story April 8, 2022 about “Tokyo Vice.”

My co-byline AP Story May 10, 2022 about an All Japan committee promoting the Sapporo Olympic bid.

My AP Story April 7, 2022 about famed directors denouncing sexual abuse in Japanese filmmaking.

My AP Story April 16, 2022 on American lawmakers meeting with Japan’s prime minister.

My AP Story April 12, 2022 on Honda’s electrification strategy.

My AP Story April 8, 2022 on Nissan developing a “game changing” battery for electric cars.

My AP Story March 24, 2022 on Toshiba shareholders voting down the latest restructuring plan.

My AP Story March 3, 2022 on the verdict for Greg Kelly, cleared on all counts except for charges in one of the eight contested years. He gets to go home because his sentence was suspended. The defense is appealing, asserting complete innocence.

My AP Story March 16, 2022 on the Tokyo prosecutors also appealing the verdict for Greg Kelly.

My AP EXPLAINER Story March 1, 2022 on the verdict for Greg Kelly, an American on trial in the Carlos Ghosn scandal.

My AP Story March 10, 2022 on the U.S. government seeking the two Americans in prison in Carlos Ghosn’s escape be allowed to serve the rest of their time in the U.S.

My AP Story Feb. 24, 2022 on how a Japanese woman influenced Jamaican music.

My AP Story March 24, 2022 about a widening scandal at top brokerage SMBC Nikko Securities.

My co-bylined AP Story March 16, 2022 on Sapporo’s bid for the 2030 Olympics.

My AP Story Feb. 28, 2022 on how Japanese manga has gone global.

My AP Story March 4, 2022 on Japan’s Honda, Sony joining forces on new electric vehicle.

My AP Story March 1, 2022 on Toshiba’s CEO stepping down amid restructuring efforts.

My AP Story Feb. 16, 2022 on Kirin selling its China venture to an investment fund.

My AP Story Feb. 8, 2022 on SoftBank turning to IPO for its stake in Arm.

My AP Story Jan. 24, 2022, our obit on French fashion designer Manfred Thierry Mugler.

My AP Story Jan. 28, 2022 on Toyota going to the moon.

My AP Story Jan. 7, 2022 on Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa speaking about his recent trip to outer space.

My AP Story Feb. 15, 2022 on the economy growing on the back of improved consumer spending and exports.

My AP Story Feb. 1, 2022 on Toyota apologizing for employee’s suicide after overwork and power harassment.

My AP Story Jan. 28, 2022 on a high-profile departure at SoftBank.

My AP Story Jan. 27, 2022 on the Renault-Nissan alliance investing in electric vehicles.

I’m a Contributor to this AP Story Jan. 25, 2022 on Japanese skateboarders.

I worked on this AP Story Jan. 22, 2022 on the Tonga volcanic eruption.

My AP Story Jan. 21, 2022 on the shortage of parts caused by the coronavirus pandemic further denting production at Toyota.

My AP Story Jan. 20, 2022 on Japan’s imports and exports reaching record highs.

My AP Story Jan. 18, 2022 on Japan expanding COVID measures.

My AP Story Jan 12, 2022 on Japanese Minister Daishiro Yamagiwa confident about balancing COVID controls with economic growth.

My AP Story Jan. 9, 2022 on the Japanese prime minister saying a deal has been reached on the U.S. military to stop COVID’s spread.

My AP Story Jan. 7, 2022 about Japan kicking in restrictions to curb COVID infections in Okinawa, Yamaguchi and Hiroshima.

My AP Story Jan. 6, 2022 on Japan asking U.S. forces to stay on bases as COVID cases jump.

I’m a Contributor to this AP Story Jan. 5, 2022 on North Korea firing a suspected missile.

My AP Story Jan. 4, 2021 on Japan’s Prime Minister promising coronavirus boosters and new measures against the omicron.

My AP Story Jan. 1, 2022 on the emperor’s message for the New Year.

HAIKU FOR BASHO a poem by Yuri Kageyama

Haiku for Basho a poem by Yuri Kageyama

May 3, 2022

眼差しを

無に流すかな

芭蕉のかわ

He is still watching,

Though washed away to nothing-

Ness, Basho’s River

Haiku in Amsterdam

Self-Portrait by Van Gogh at the Rijks Museum in Amsterdam

Haiku in Amsterdam

By Yuri Kageyama (written in Amsterdam Sept. 2019.)

Like any city a Chinese restaurant

Glasses black hair he works hard

He is your son your first date

Your father

Your Lover for life

That Chinaman found everywhere

Our History

Our eternal plight

And he makes me fill with

Pity pride tears

While on the topic of Van Gogh in this Amsterdam reference, sharing my poem “Haiku for Van Gogh” in a reading from several years ago in San Francisco, with bass by Hiroyuki Shido.

Haiku for Disco _ a poem by Yuri Kageyama

Haiku for Disco _ a poem by Yuri Kageyama

Too Tired, Brain Is Dead
Chukah Thomp, Chukah Thomp, Chukah Thomp,
Disco Is Music.

Some people who know a lot about music look down upon disco because of its simple repetitive rhythm and how the genre has played in to the evil money-making music industry machinery (although other genres have done this, too). What is being overlooked is that this simple repetitive rhythm, which gets people off their seats and out on the dance floor, speaks to people who work hard all day and need to forget, can’t think, but want to groove _ not those academics who want to sit around, focus on more intelligent music to analyze, contemplate and articulate. Call it dumb. Call it what you will. Call it the primordial beat. I am alive. That is what disco music says. And that is the most important thing any music, any art, any writing can say.

(video from Jimmy Clary, via Hiroyuki Shido)

ego and egoism

Art is all about ego.
Even if you are the kind of artist who believes that only amateurish art is about self-expression and true art is about something else entirely, no one disagrees that art can stem only from the self that is the artist.
Most forms of selfishness as they play out in society are negative, often evil.
People want to save their own asses and want more money, status, privileges, at the cost of others, and so place themselves in career/society/hierarchy to feed that ego and that egotistical need.
This is the reality that is 99.99999 percent of reality.
This is the reality that I don’t understand and never have understood.
It is not particularly interesting and certainly not satisfying.
Unfortunately, if we want to survive as human beings until death and support our family, we must deal with this torturous but undeniable 99.99999 percent of reality, since it IS 99.99999 percent _ if we count all the people who choose to be involved in this pursuit of career, money, status, etc. as valid values and goals vs. those who are interested in and satisfied by something else and become poets.
Poetry is a form of art that is as divorced from the worldly pursuits that make up 99.99999 percent of reality as things can get.
The ego takes center stage but in a way that is irrelevant from politicking, career advancement and mundane unbecoming unpoetic competition.
A poet is ego pure and simple and total and unafraid.
A poet exercises selfishness with a free conscience.

Where have all The Tokyo Flower Children gone?

“Relative deprivation” is a concept in sociology, which refers to the common phenomenon of people’s dissatisfaction not being correlated to the reality of oppression, but instead to perceived oppression.
This means human nature is such that people are most dissatisfied when they think they should be getting better treatment.
And that could be when things are getting better _ not necessarily worse as might be expected _ because it’s all about perceptions.
The plight of Japanese youngsters isn’t all that bad compared to their counterparts in many other nations.
But their sense of relative deprivation is quite intense because social pressures for them to conform and to do good are quite high.
Many outside of Japan would be proud of having landed an assembly-line job.
If you are Japanese, it is less than perfect.
Being shut out of a white-collar lifetime employment job after completing a degree from a prestigious college is often an embarrassment not only for the youngster but the entire family.
“Freeter” is a label assigned to the despised when many Americans would be happy _ and proud _ to just have a job, any job, even a “keiyaku” or “haken” (i.e., not lifetime employment) job!
Imagine the stigma in Japan for being unemployed.
And the jobless rate is at a record high 5.7 percent (which wouldn’t be a record at all in places like the U.S.)
Relative deprivation is seething in Japan.
Random crime to vent out frustrations is on the rise.
The existence of random crime may not be all that surprising in other big cities of the world.
Not so for Japan, which has long boasted a reputation for being crime-free (not that any nation is truly crime-free).
So no one is prepared for a stabbing spree in a commuter train station or a beating at night in a park.
In the U.S., if a nut goes berserk in public, he/she would be dead quite quickly.
The police would shoot him/her.
In Japan, we read reports of police who have been unable to track down the perpetrator, let alone arrest him/her.
In the U.S., homes have several locks. In Japan, people go out leaving their doors unlocked.
In the U.S., some citizens are armed, take self-defense lessons, carry mace or at least avoid walking alone in dark streets.
In Japan, hardly anyone does.
It is a rather dangerous situation, even if the numbers of the relatively deprived youngsters who end up turning to crime are still few.
Japan simply isn’t prepared.
There is a sense of hostility in the air.
There is a sense the best times for Japan are over.
The Tokyo Flower Children may be wilting _ remnants of the good old times _ just as the American hippies were of the 1960s.
More on the Tokyo Flower Children.
(video above: Jounetsu wo Torimodosou by Teruyuki Kawabata of CigaretteSheWas translation by Yuri Kageyama, who reads with Haruna Shimizu, and additional music by Winchester Nii Tete, Keiji Kubo, Yumi Miyagishima and Carl Freire in the TOKYO FLOWER CHILDREN performance of Multicultural Poetry and Music at the Pink Cow, Tokyo, June 8, 2008.)

Free overtime

An interesting story I did today is about how Toyota will start paying workers for what had previously been free overtime.
Called QC Circle, they are meetings that Toyota auto workers attend to talk about how they can improve production methods.
The issue is significant because “kaizen,” efficiency ideas from workers on the line and empowering workers, are all part of the Toyota Way.
Kaizen is crucial to the legendary manufacturing philosophy that make up the automaker’s sterling image.
But the story of the individual worker sometimes can be far more tragic.
Last year, the Nagoya District Court ruled in a lawsuit filed by the widow that the death of a 30-year-old Toyota employee was work-related, or karoshi _ death from overwork.
I looked at the court documents, and the glimpse they offered into this man’s life _ and death _ was heart-breaking.
He was doing more than 100 hours of overtime, sometimes working weekdays and holidays.
He was stressed out because his job was checking the car body for any defects, and pressures were high to catch them all.
This man had two young children, and in the beginning he was trying to also be the good father, and was giving them baths and playing with them.
Toward the end of his life, he no longer had the energy to do that, the court documents say, quoting his wife.
He was the team leader of one of these QC Circles, and the court ruled that such so-called voluntary work was part of the work (yes, real work) that contributed to his death.
One day, as he was filling in the records for defects, he collapsed from his chair.
He was rushed to the hospital but later died of heart failure.

Writing vs. writing

Many years ago, when I’d just started working at a new office as a reporter, I got a call from Shozu Ben.
I found this great job for you, he says, teaching English at a school.
It’s perfect for you.
He can’t believed I’m not taking the job.
He can’t comprehend why a poet would take a full-time reporting job.
What about time for poetry _ real writing?
Why? he asks puzzled, maybe exasperated, even disgusted.
He probably thought I was ungrateful.
Now that I think back, it was so sweet of him.
I had just met him once at a reading.
He also probably thought I was very misguided.

Wow! Busy!

Evidence of hard work:

newsvine.com

What’s up lately on the reporting front

Of the stories I’ve done lately, including those about the Japanese prime minister , big-name automakers and developments in the technology sector, the two stirring up interest:
Hello Kitty products for men
Robot Guitar
Thanks Hello Kitty fans.
Thanks guitar fans.