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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Some Japanese Workers Work From Home On July 24

WTF?

That has to be the most boring headline I've ever written. But still... WTF? 

Japanese companies wanted workers to stay home on Monday giving them a so-called long-weekend… and it was accepted by 100% of the people?

Okay… I know and you know that not since religion became formalized and farming became a thing and prostitution… well… you know… I suppose religious, what with the missionary position…  rare is the day when there’s a day when everybody can take a day off from work.

Transit operators, taxi drivers, convenience store workers, food providers, spiritual guidance folk (includes priests and prostitutes)… someone is always working when everyone else isn’t.

On Monday, June 24, 2017, the Japanese government “encouraged” companies to allow employees to work from home for the day.

I get why it’s not popular: Some jobs can’t be done from home… such as those who work in an automobile manufacturing facility; or as an elevator in a high-end department store, or as a prostitute that only does outcalls (to your house)…. heck, even I’m not allowed to work from home as a writer—possibly for fear that I would just sit on my butt and play Skyrim V or watch TV all day long.

That would never happen, of course, as I’m sure I would have to get up to make lunch or go to the
bathroom.    

Japan’s plan was to prepare companies for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo by gently insisting companies provide its workers with the opportunity to work from home on July 24 of 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

The idea behind this is to help avoid/reduce population congestion… in a bid to ensure the expected 920,000 visitors to the Tokyo area will be able to get to the assorted sports venues in a less-crowded manner… meaning they might actually be able to get to the event in time… provided they get some help from the new train station robot system currently being worked on by JR East (see HERE). 

Apparently 900+ companies participated in the event—which must have sucked for every other employee of a non-participating company… but apparently, while many employees did stay home, it was still a guesstimated less than 20% number.

Since it was just 900+ companies… and only in Tokyo… and not everyone was willing to work from home, needless to say the impact it had on those still commuting was… well… negligible.  



Hmm… the image above is from www.qz.com and its take on the story. What’s wrong with the photo? It implies to show that the Tokyo subways station is busy on July 24, 2017. BUT… It’s July… and everyone is wearing coats that are far too warm for July in Tokyo.

I’ll assume it’s a stock image.

Here’s one from Bloomberg correctly showing men in short sleeved dress shirts… you keep those rocking until Labor day… then you are supposed to switch to long-sleeved shirts.

I never did, because it’s not a rule… just an accepted practice. I dressed in a respectful manner (IE a dress shirt, pants and tie), but I saw no need to follow the sheeple re: sleeve length or shirt color.

I believe I re-introduced Japan to teal back in 1992 (same with Toronto… though Montreal was again ahead of the Canadian curve.) 

Anyhow… Bloomberg has a proper photo:

Passengers board a train at Tokyu Toyoko Line’s Shibuya Station. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg
Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs says it may take approximately one month before results can be fashioned from the collected data on how many people took part

According to Twitter chatter, some people say the trains were less crowded, others saying meh, couldn’t tell… which again is based on, I believe, just which 900+ businesses took part in the event, and how many people in total from each company stayed away… depending on where and when they boarded and exited a train, different train density results could be observed. 

According to a report from the Ministry of International Affairs and Communications (a second Ministry is involved? That’s a bureaucracy. I suppose this one is because the program was initially set up for the Olympics?)…  in 2015, about 16 per cent of Japanese companies allowed its employees to work from home at least some of the time (not just on July 24).

Apparently 4 percent of workers telecommuted once a week.

Not bad… but does it say how many of them worked MORE than five days a week? Right. I wish I had an answer. I wonder if the Ministry (take your pick) has an answer.

Japan prime minister Abe Shinzo (surname first) has gone on record as saying he would like to raise the number of workers in Japan who telecommute one day a week to 10% by 2020.

Hmmm… according to a recent Gallup poll, 43% of employed Americans said they already spend at least some time working remotely.

I’m calling bullshirt on using that data… it says they spend some time working remotely… it  does NOT say they work remotely RATHER than working at the office.

I’m saying of those 43% of employed Americans who said in the Gallup Poll that they spend at least some time working remotely… MOST are doing work they couldn’t finish at the office.

There’s NO WAY IN HELL 43% of American workers get to spend time working at home INSTEAD of working at the office. NO FRICKIN’ WAY!

Anyhow… I’m unsure how one day a year with a voluntary base of companies offering its employees to voluntarily work from home is preparing anyone for the expected crowds of the Tokyo Olympics… but if it affords workers to work from home every now and again, I applaud the initiative.

Kanpai,
Andrew Joseph

Ohhhh, Rocky!

I saw a website the other day purporting that Japan is made up of 70% mountain.

Don’t you believe it.

It’s actually 73%.

While there is a mountain range running through each of the four main islands of Japan, the Japanese Alps (日本アルプス, Nihon Arupusu) consists of three major mountain ranges across the main island of Honshu: the Hida Mountains, Kiso Mountains and the Akaishi Mountains.

The Japanese term Nihon Arupusu… well, Nihon, Nippon and Japan are “basically” interchangeable ways of saying Japan.
  • Arupusu… that’s the Japanese katakana alphabet way of saying “alps”… arupusu: ah-ru-poo-su… say it quickly, and that’s who the Japanese will say “alps” in English.  That’s why the Japanese can be speaking English and you may still have a difficult time understand all of their English words. 
  • Hida Mountains - aka the Northern Alps stretches through the prefectures of Nagano, Toyama and Gifu-ken, with a wee bit going into Niigata-ken.
  • Nigano-ken is home to the Central Alps aka the Kiso Mountains, while the Southern Alps (Akaishi Mountains) run through Nagano, Yamanashi and Shizuoka-ken.
Anyhow… 73% mountainous… and I still never saw Mt. Fuji—the tallest mountain in Japan—even when I was standing right in front of it. Or was I behind it? It’s so hard to tell with mountains.

Banzai,
Andrew Joseph.
PS: Rather than surrender, Japanese soldiers on the island of Saipan did, during WWII, jumped off a local mountain side yelling banzai. Originally meant as a salute of “Long live the Emperor!” it is better known as an all-out attack cry… or in this case, death before dishonor.
PPS: The title is of course a line from the Rocky Horror Picture Show musical. While I look great in fishnets, I have never dressed up in drag to see the show live. I dressed up for Halloween, by the way and not for any lifestyle choice. To each his or her own, though.
PPPS: The above image was plucked from www.japancycling.org ... yes... a cycling website... a Japanese cycling website showing the Japanese Alps.
Now, I'm no expert when it comes to cycling, but wouldn't cycling the snow-covered alps, as depicted in this WINTER scene (according to the website) just be nuts? I'm just saying, is all...  

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Miyagi Zao Fox Village

There are plenty of things that the Japanese like to pet… for example… cats… what will all the cat cafes out there… bunny rabbits… there’s a rabbit island out there where guests can go and have bunnies hop all over them… women dressed up in sexy French maid costumes… while I’m sure most are legitimate as just as sexy attraction, some other sexy attractions will let you pet the made for a fee.

Foxes… which might have you think I’m talking about sexy maids again, but really… you saw the photo above… you know I’m talking about crafty, bushy-tailed creatures… no… I said I wasn’t talking about Japanese women in French maid outfits… yes… yes, I find it a very alluring look… though for me, I think it’s the medium-sized hole fishnet stockings. For me, they have to be black… I think it may stem from my love affair with DC Comics heroes Black Canary and Zatana.

Judging by the amount of fan art out on the Internet, I'm not the only one with a Zatana (left) and Black Canary crush. Mine ended when I was 11 and discovered real girls, but the die was cast.

Anyhow… hey, foxes!

At the foot of Mount Zaō (蔵王山, Zaō-zan))—a complex of stratovolcanoes on the border between Yamagata-ken (Yamagata Prefecture) and Miyagi-ken (Miyagi Prefecture) in Japan—there sits the Miyagi Zao Fox Village (蔵王きつね村, aka Kitsune Mura).

In the photo above, in your opinion those are the cutest critters ever, or you figure they are calmly waiting for the dumb adult human to accidentally drop his kit/kid a might to low to provide them with a nice, light snack... there's a joke in there, if you know that commercial advertisement from the past.   

Access to the site is only available via car or taxi (a taxi could run you as much as ¥4000!))… a 20-minute drive from Shiroshi village’s train station… which houses local and skinkansen service. 

At the Fox Village are six different varieties of fox… and over 100 animals in total… all within a preserve where the animals move freely… and what’s weird to me, is that us humans are allowed to enter, see them and even pet them.

I know foxes look kindda cute… but I’m pretty sure I don’t want to go up to a wild frickin’ animal and pet it on the off-chance it decides to rip my face off and eat it or simply give me rabies or Lime’s Disease. I know you can get Lime’s Disease from ticks found on deer… but do the ticks know they have to stay on deer?

For the uninitiated, foxes have long played an important role in Japanese lore. I know… foxes have long played an important part in the lore of many other cultures, too, but this blog is about Japan.

Here;s the interesting part. When you pay your admission fee (¥1,00 adults and free for elementary aged kids and younger), you have the opportunity to purchase some fox food…  so you can feed the foxes…. uh-huh. I’ve been to animal petting zoos and have been swarmed by goats, pigs, chicken, deer, camels, llamas… crap, what haven’t I been swarmed with and seen others swarmed by?

Well, foxes, for one.

Dan Akryod and Steve Martin on Saturday Night Live, playing the Festrunk brothers - Yortuk and Georg - two wild and crazy guys who know everything there is to know about foxes.

The first part of the Fox Village is the petting zoo. Before you enter the feeding area, Japanese professionals which will not consist of sweaty high school kids doing a summer job (Ya gotta love Japan for that)… adults who will explain all the rules of Fox Village to you… in Japanese. Shazbot!
But fret not gaijin as ignorant of the Japanese language as I am (and really… why haven’t you found 1) Japanese friends 2) Japanese significant other - to be your guide and ride to places like this.

Rule #1 of traveling in Japan… since it is always imperative to know where you are going, always have a Japanese guide or a foreigner friend who has some knowledge of the Japanese language. I would say that a Guide Book is going to be of little help when you are looking up trying to decode the Chinese letters of Japanese kanji at a bus station.

I learned that travel lesson very early in my stay in Japan after getting lost far too many times whereby when I told my bosses I was going on vacation within Japan they set up odds as to how quickly I would get lost, and where I might actually end up. Not a joke (but a joke), one of my Ohtawara Board of Education co-workers bet I would end up in Korea knowing that I was just traveling by train to Osaka. He almost won, however.

While I did find Osaka, I was trying to meet some female penpal of a guy I sortta knew back in Toronto… she thought I was him… and while she did make-out with me in my hotel, she kept enough clothes on so as to not officially have cheated on her boyfriend with me. This was my third month in Japan and my first time alone with a Japanese woman.

We then went out and met her boyfriend and had a great time drinking. I really liked her boyfriend, which made me feel like crap... but it was just kissing, so I didn't feel as poorly as I could have.

She wasn't a great kisser... and I know that sounds  crazy coming from a guy who just two months earlier was still a virgin, but I stand by that accusation. 

That has nothing to do with the fact that even after we met her boyfriend, she still thought I was her penpal. I understand. As a writer, the “pen is” mightier than the sword. 

Now... where the fox was I? Oh yeah… Fox Village…

Just like an Ikea instruction manual, the village had graphic signs up with X’s abound to show the ins and outs of proper decorum at the village.

Along with the foxes that you can pet and take pictures with, you can also pet rabbits, miniature horses and goats.

This type of thing doesn’t screw up the animal does it?

After you’ve had your fill of heavy petting, it’s time to get down to business… and as someone who has been around foxes, that usually means buying them jewelry. But I’m actually talking about foxes who wear their fur living.

You pass through a door and enter the open area where the foxes et al wander freely… with real nature all around it laid out in such a way as though  it was totally natural.

Just like in real life, many foxes upon seeing you will lope away, while others will scamper up to you in curiosity.

It has always been in my head that if a wild animal scampers up to me in curiosity, I better get the fig out of there. Apparently if this happens in Fox Village, the fox IS really only curious, and probably won’t try and bite your face off.  Probably.

Hopefully you bought more food, because while there is truth in the old adage about letting sleeping dogs lie, I would assume it extended to foxes… but what do I know…

I would try not to toss food AT a sleeping or resting fox… you can shake your food bag and if they are interested they may lope over for a snack… at which time I suppose you could pet them.

Why am I wary?

Of the four Rottweiler dogs I have owned, I could feed each their own food in their own bowl and know they would never try and steal from each other. I could pet them as they ate… I could even remove their bowl WHILE they were eating - no biggie.

Now… the friendliest dog in the world - the Chocolate Labrador… if I tried to pet him when he ate, he might growl at me… he certainly would if I made an attempt to remove his dog bowl of food… growling in such a manner that you would never expect from a lab… but would expect from a Rottweiler.

The point is… you don’t know how any given fox is going to react when it comes to food. Act accordingly… which mans “warily.”
Okay… these wild foxes are used to humans… but that doesn’t mean crap. The key word in the sentence is “wild”.

Anyhow… even when the foxes come up to you, they are looking for food. I’m pretty sure that the foxes in the NON-petting area (this one) are NOT supposed to be pet.

If you want to pet a fox, go back to the petting area!

Keep in mind, that there’s very little supervision in this area. 

There are little fox dens made to look like miniature human houses, a shrine and even tori gates around… at the end of the visit, you can get something to eat at a food shop and purchase omiyage or other touristy things rom the gift shop.

I’ve seen foxes before… in my backyard, in fact. And maybe because I judge animals to be essentially wild, I have no desire to actually go and pet a fox.

Sure… if foxes were truly domesticated, I might think this is a “better” idea… but how often have we heard about a so-called domesticated dog losing it?

If you don't already have a dog… here’s a bit of advice… never ever bend down and look a dog directly in the eyes… it could take it as a “challenge”. Even bending down to stare at and then hug a dog - challenge. That's how kids get bit… nervous dogs…

It’s easier for us adults… as we can maintain a physical dominance by being higher than them. Of course YOU knowing your own dog and your dog, more importantly, knowing you is also key… 

Anyhow... while I'm not 100% completely sold being somewhat cowardly, here's a video of the the place. It looks pretty cool, actually:


A redhead and a red fox - which is which? Hopefully the rabies cure wasn't too painful.  
 
Banzai,
Andrew Joseph
  

Monday, July 24, 2017

Time Enough For A Tryst

Immortalized forever in a timeless embrace, we have an art scene created in 1680, but made at some later date into a woodblock ukiyo-e print.

Lovely, isn’t it?

Produced by famed Japanese ukiyo-e artist Hishikawa Moronobu (surname first), the untitled print has been given the name “Lovers in an Autumn Meadow.”

The title was given to the print by the United States Library of Congress staff, with the monochrome woodcut physically standing 28.8 x 41.5cm.

You can easily see the quality of the linework of Moronobu in this print…. simply exquisite.

Unlike later artists, Mornonobu gave his people an individual look… to me, if I didn’t know better, these characters could be taken out of a modern anime or manga.

While the secretive tryst takes place amongst some very beautifully-drawn flowers, I found it interesting to see the young warrior’s katana sword perched upright (and I’m pretty sure that even though it might be bad form to leave the sword splayed upon the ground, the sword being in an upright position was done for a reason).

While there may or may not be proper conduct regarding placing a sword upright or flat on the ground for a warrior, my point is the warrior has carelessly placed his katana far away from him… so even if he is lucky enough to notice someone approaching his amorous embrace and can break away in time… he still has to leap up and grab his sword perched all the way over against that gnarled tree.

The fact that the sword is still in its sheath could also imply that it hasn’t been used yet in a phallic way - if you know what I mean…

Because there are no fallen leaves surrounding the gnarled tree in the background, rather than suppose this is Autumn (per the Library staff), it could either be Summer or Spring.

Since rolling around with your favorite girl in the Summer can be hot work—would you like to imagine the warrior's hand reaching for a sweaty boob?—I prefer to to think the two young lovers are simply being randy in the Spring… 

To whit... though very few people know where the line below is from, many can quote it:

“In the Spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.”
Locksley Hall, by Lord Alfred Tennyson

Of course, since that’s a line from a poem, and one near the poem's beginning, I would assume that “Spring” implies “youth” - hence our young lovers.

So… what do you think… is it possible that our artist Moronobu actually saw such a scene, and sat down to sketch the action while quietly hiding in the bush holding his pen? Voyeuristic? Opportunistic? Had a couple of models pose out in a meadow? Had a couple of models pose in his art studio and used his imagination for the rest? 

Banzai,
Andrew Joseph

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Voyeurism Of Japanese Gods In Art

I really like this small mono-color woodblock print at the top.

The ukiyo-e image published between 1685 -1695, at the infancy of woodblock printing, is a 26.8 x 38.1 cm horizontal Oban Sumizuri-e (monochrome) woodblock print that is attributed to Japanese artist Sugimura Jihei (surname first).

The subject title is Kume no sennin… which means nothing to most people… until you realize it’s about the god, Kume, quietly spying on a Japanese beauty doing her laundry…at least he has both hands visible.

In fact, the United States Library of Congress files this print under the officious subject heading of “voyeurism”.

Kume no sennin (米の仙人) is a Taoist immortal (god) who has the ability to fly and/or float.

In all other depictions of him (that I could find) in ukiyo-e format, Kume no sennin can be seen spying on women doing their laundry… perhaps hoping for a peek between their legs as they spread their limbs to wash the clothes… also assuming that since they are doing laundry, there is a high probability that they may NOT be wearing underwear… 

Hi - sorry to disturb you, but I couldn't help but notice that you are washing your undergarments... before you do, could I purchase one or two items from you? 1856 ukiyo-e print by Utagawa Kunisada.

A diptych of ukiyo-e featuring Utagawa Kunisada's apparently favorite subject matter in 1856, Kumme no sennin swooping down upon an unsuspecting Japanese honey doing her laundry. You can tell it's a sexually-charged image because you can almost see the woman's knees. In this version, Kume no sennin looks more lecherous than in the art immediately above it.IN this image, the woman hardly looks surprised... her hair is NOT out of place, and the expression of moving water—while there—isn't as obvious as in the upper image. This image does have more background, but it's not necessarily "good" background. Which one was drawn by the Master and which was drawn (and signed as the Master) by the Student? Yeah. I hope it's as obvious as it seems.
To be honest, I don’t even know if wearing underwear was a thing in the 17th century Japan for women.

But, thanks to the artistic interpretations, we do know that Japan had a peeping Tom god it could worship if the need arose.

Banzai,
Andrew  

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Quiet - I'm Eating (And The Snub To Trump)

In a recent NY Times interview, U.S. president Donald John Trump (aka Don John Trump) talked with journalists Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman about his time in office through July 20, 2017.

In it, the president talked about the many trials and tribulations of being King of ‘merica, and about all of the fun (garbled) and interesting people he has spent time with in an official capacity, including meeting with Japan prime minister Abe Shinzo (surname first) and his wife Akie.

The Abe’s have met with Trump and his wife Melania three times so far in the few months Trump has been in office:
  • at Andrew’s Air Force Base;
  • a weekend at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida home where the two leader’s played a round of golf;
  • and last week’s G20 summit in Germany.
Here’s what Trump had to say in that NY Times interview about that G20 summit's dinner:

TRUMP: So, it was tremendous media. And we took a picture of everybody, the wives and the leaders, and then the leaders, and, you know, numerous pictures outside on the river. Then everybody walked in to see the opera. Then the opera ended. Then we walked into a big room where they had dinner for not only the leaders — Lagarde (Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund) was there, who I think is terrific, and various others. You had the E.U. people there, people other than just the leaders, but quite a few people. I would say you have 20 times two, so you had 40, and then you probably had another 10 or 15 people, you had Christine Lagarde, you had some others also.
So, I was seated next to the wife of Prime Minister Abe (Shinzo Abe of Japan), who I think is a terrific guy, and she’s a terrific woman, but doesn’t speak English.
 
HABERMAN: Like, nothing, right? Like zero? 
TRUMP: Like, not “hello.” 
HABERMAN: That must make for an awkward seating. 
TRUMP: Well, it’s hard, because you know, you’re sitting there for—— 
HABERMAN: Hours. 
TRUMP: So the dinner was probably an hour and 45 minutes.

That would suck, wouldn’t? Being stuck beside someone who can’t speak your language…if only someone could translate for you...

TRUMP continues: OK, so we’re sitting at this massive table. And the wives are separated from their husbands, which sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. But they did. It’s always easier when they don’t do it, because you always have somebody to talk to, right? And I was sitting next to the president of Argentina — his wife — (Mauricio) Macri — nice woman, who speaks English. And the prime minister of Japan’s wife, Prime Minister Abe. Great relationships. So I’m sitting there. There was one interpreter for Japanese, ’cause otherwise it would have been even tougher. But I enjoyed the evening with her, and she’s really a lovely woman, and I enjoyed — the whole thing was good.

Hey, at least Trump has admiration for Abe and his wife Akie.

But here’s the thing… Abe Akie, wife of Japan prime minister Abe Shinzo… she can speak English.

She once talked baseball in fluent English with former U.S. president George W. Bush and first lady Laura, back in 2007—albeit about a Japanese ball player in the North American MLB.

Along with speaking with the wife’s of Canadian prime ministers Stephen Harper and current PM Justin Trudeau in English, Akie attended an elementary school audience in Virginia alongside former U.S. president first lady Michell Obama.

I won’t even mention her speech in front of business leaders in New York City. Oops.

Look at the photo at the very top of this blog... Akie is having a great time speaking to the masses - apparently no translation is necessary.

The fact that she chose NOT to speak English during that G20 dinner party… or apparently at any other time when around U.S. president Donald Trump (or else he would know she could speak English), is… interesting, to say the least.

Was that because she didn’t want any of her comments to be taken out of context? Was it because she was too busy eating and would not talk with her mouth full? Did she simply not have anything to say? Or did she NOT want to say anything to Trump?

Could it have been that Trump is allegedly boorish in his treatment of women?

He did comment out loud on French president Emmanuel Macron’s wife Brigitte: “in such good shape — beautiful.” When president Emmanuel Macron was a lad of 15, by the way, Brigitte was his teacher… I’m just throwing that out there, in case you didn’t know or forgot.

As far as sitting beside Abe Akie at the G20 dinner, Trump did say he had a translator with him, but HE actually kept his mouth shut except to eat, preferring to not say anything to her.

Was that a snub?

Even if Trump didn't say anything to her, Akie could have initiated a conversation, but didn’t. Was that a snub?

Trump did actually leave his seat to go and talk to Russian president Vladimir Putin for about 15 minutes…

Maybe he was told by advisors, and finally listened, to not talk to the women there for fear of causing a ruckus within the fake news media… of which I suppose this blog is part of.

So… was this just old-time sexist behavior in action of a woman knowing her place?

Did Akie simply not have anything interesting to say?

Was the G20 dinner food so uninteresting that it couldn’t spark a comment like “Wow! This bisque is wonderful!” or “Ugh, my salad is raw”?

I’m sure we’ll never know the truth… as I’m sure Honest Abe Akie isn’t talking.

Bazinga,
Andrew Joseph
PS: My computer is apparently on the fritz at home, so I’m writing the next few day’s blogs on Friday at lunch. 

Friday, July 21, 2017

You Must Remember This

I’m a Humphrey Bogart fan - but only since my early 20s, because that is when I was in university and trying to be more worldly by watching black and white movies and talking about bourgeois things, because that what supposed middle-class people do instead of being a drunken frat-boy.

Actually, I don't know if that’s true. I certainly could drink… but I was never a frat-boy, so I have no idea what they did or didn’t do. My only frame of reference is Animal House (movie) and its misshapen spawn Delta House (TV). The good thing about Delta House was that it was the first time I fell in love with Michelle Pfeiffer, as I had a thing for blondes back then.

Speaking of blondes, the Japanese movie poster for the Humphrey Bogart movie Casablanca (above) also stars Ingrid Bergman.

While Bergman did not begin my love affair with Swedish women—that may have begun with porn star Seka… who may not have been Swedish, but at the very least did star in numerous Swedish Erotica films.

For the record, I no longer look at a woman based on ethnicity or color of hair, because…  well… despite my juvenile humor here, I’m a grown-up now.

Intelligence is the thing... not necessarily diploma-based, either... intelligence to keep me intrigued. Or sex... sex can also do that. (See? Juvenile.)



Released in 1942, Casablanca is a drama/romance flick set in Casablanca, Morocco… about Bogart’s character Rick Blaine—he owns a nightclub—and learns that an old flame, Ilsa (Bergman) is in Casablanca with her husband. The hubby has Nazi Germans after him. Ilsa, knowing that Bogart’s character is a bit of a slickster, comes to him to help her husband out of a jam.

Yup… that’s the plot. Obviously things start to heat up, proving it is impossible for men to be friends with a woman without him thinking about sex. 

I don't know if that was the typical way of thinking back in 1942, but in the 21st century, I can guarantee you that even if a guy was to help your husband out of a jam, that guy is not doing it because he's a nice guy... he's doing it because he wants you. And, if you are using him because you know he will do anything for you, what does that make you?

This is why I struggle with Bergman's Ilsa character. Is she really so naive to believe that her ex-boyfriend will help her out because:
  1. I really need help for my husband, and because Rick's a nice guy and it's the right thing to do, this should be a no-brainer, or;
  2. I need someone with questionable morals help my husband escape from the Nazis... and that's Rick... and I can play off his lust for me to help ME out, or; 
  3. I am just using this whole thing with my husband as a means to see Rick, because as much as I know he wants me, I want him twice as much. 
Speaking as man—albeit a man with a juvenile sense of humor—I can 100% guarantee you that every heterosexual man thinks that when a woman comes to him for help, Option 3 is the ONLY option—that that he thinks it is what the woman is thinking.

As evil as she wants to be, the Notorious Ingrid Bergman played a nun in 1945's The Bells of St. Mary, and a saint in 1948's Joan of Arc... and used her sexy wiles to get exactly what she wanted in 1942's Casablanca. 
My guess is that if this was a 2017 movie, Option 2 would be the correct answer... but again... I'm unsure exactly what moralistic drama the writer(s) were employing for this 1942 movie. Could Ilsa really believe in Option 1? Sure... but is that naive considering she knows that Rick is conniving? No... because she knows that Rick can help her husband, the implication is that Ilsa knows Option 2 is the ONLY option.
So... is this really a story about romance? Or is this about a woman using her feminine charms to manipulate a greedy man who just wants to lay pipe? And no... nothing is bothering me... I'm just looking at the movie from a different angle. Obtuse may eventually come to mind. That's funny and you know it.


Anyhow… the above poster of the Warner Brothers movie is from 1946 Japan… the movie did not make its debut in Japan for four years after its North American release... not until June 13, 1946—owing to the fact that Japan was partners with those self same Nazi’s who were after Ilsa’s husband (Victor Lazslo played by Paul Henreid) until September of 1945.

You know that for any guy lusting after another man's woman... even though he might actually do his best to help both parties out, he is secretly hoping the Nazi's will win out and kill the competition, knowing that within six months, yeah six months, after playing nursemaid to her grief, yeah, that's the ticket, I can make her mine. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

Okay, while no sane guy is going to kill for you, we might, however, accidentally on-purpose choose to look the other way to help create the ultimate fail for him, and win for me. Oh, and that, of course, means a win for you, too, honey.

I didn't say guys were smart. But I am wondering/saying/asking that in this movie... one of the best movies of all-time... who's the real bad guy? Might not be a guy, afterall.        


The B3 poster (sized 15” x 20.5”) is an atypical size of movie poster… with this particular size ONLY appearing at the three theaters in Japan where the movie debuted on June 13, 1946: Musashimo Kan, Houraku Zza, and Denkikan… so three theaters… that’s it… you know this one is rare. Rare as an honest man in Bogart’s Casablanca.

If you are interested in this poster, Heritage Auctions is currently offering it for purchase HERE, with an estimated value of US$2,500-$5,000.

Regardless of what Casablanca’s main song “As Time Goes By” utters, a kiss is NOT just a kiss. If you’ve ever been with someone… and shared some weird connection from something as electric as a single kiss… you know that it can transcend time and space, making the angels weep with jealousy.

I got plenty of time,
Andrew “let me rethink that” Joseph