Remember Christopher Johnson, the freelance reporter/photographer who became infamous in early 2012 after he threatened bloggers and journalists who were critical of his poorly-written account of being detained and expelled from Japan?
Also in attendance was Hiroko Tabuchi of the New York Times. It is not clear if they actually talked to each other at the event, but Tabuchi posted the following public Tweets today:
Christopher Johnson replied to her first Tweet by claiming total ignorance of any harassment. He then stated that he was being “framed.”
(Despite acknowledging that his tweets were public and thus would be fair game for bloggers to quote, Johnson continued to post tweets directed at Tabuchi.)
It didn’t take long for Johnson to shift towards what some might read as physical threats. He called on Tabuchi to meet him tonight, promising that he would stop his partner from tearing Tabuchi’s hair out. Woah.
Johnson described the information from Tabuchi’s friends as “false accusations from dubious sources,” and questioned her integrity as a journalist.
It’s an interesting turn of events because Johnson has frequently praised Tabuchi’s articles. This drama feels like a repeat of Johnson’s falling out with Jake Adelstein. In that case, Johnson’s public meltdown on Twitter led to a long-winded “investigative” blog post that viciously attacked Adelstein. Should we now expect an article attacking Tabuchi?
Update: Johnson is now complaining about this blog post.
His call for settling the matter in private is supremely ridiculous, as responded to Tabuchi’s post with public Twitter messages and continues to make more public posts, many of which could appear crazy or threatening to third-party observers.
Today, he has spewed out Tweets denying that he threatened Tabuchi. Johnson has also condemned Tabuchi’s “patho liar” friends.
Despite the fact that Tabuchi made a public twitter post stating that she would no longer directly communication with Johnson, he has continued to direct his Tweets at her, demanding an apology for her “false accusations.”
Johnson chooses to make public tweets to the NYT instead of contacting them privately via e-mail. Hilariously, he thinks he is so important that the NYT will read his tweets and then send him an e-mail!
There were also tweets directed at me, demanding that I edit this post to reflect “reality.”
It’s odd that Johnson feels the need to describe Hiroko Tabuchi as a “junior reporter” who is “unknown.” Regularly writing major articles for one of the world’s most well-known newspapers, she is is hardly unknown, and not exactly “junior” either. But, I suppose almost any reporter is “junior” compared to the illustrious Christopher Johnson…
Update 2: Somebody else noticed Johnson’s emphasis on Tabuchi’s lack of importance. Johnson claims that he is not “belittling” her, but is instead pointing out the truth. And making a public spectacle of his disagreement with Tabuchi’s supposedly untruthful accusations is “showing respect” for her. Um, okay. Whatever you say, man.
On February 23rd, the city of Mito held its 12th annual Natto eating contest. Speed eaters tried to finish a bowl of fermented soybeans as quickly as possible. The bowls contained no rice. Contestants were allowed to drink water.
The 62-year-old woman in these videos came from Oita prefecture to visit her kids, and ended up competing in the contest. She won by downing a 210 gram bowl of natto in 48.67 seconds:
The winner of the male section, a 26-year-old Ibaraki native, won by downing 350 grams of natto in just 22.08 seconds.
Here is the latest video clip of the ongoing clash between the radical animal rights group Sea Shepherd and Japanese whaling ships in the Southern Ocean:
According to Sea Shepherd:
The Japanese whaling fleet, poaching whales from Antarctica’s Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, creates a collision as they attempt an illegal refuelling operation. Sea Shepherd Ship Bob Barker peacefully blocks the whalers’ factory ship, Nisshin Maru, from refuelling.
The Bob Barker holds their ground, but the Nisshin Maru moves in, pinching the Bob Barker between itself and the fuel tanker Sun Laurel while blasting the bridge windows with high-powered water cannons. The bow wake from the two larger ships causes the smaller one to lose steerage, and the ensuing turbulence throws the Bob Barker off course. The Bob Barker gets helplessly tossed side to side between the two larger ships.
This video clearly shows the fault of the collision on the Nisshin Maru. According to COLREGS, the Bob Barker had the right of way, and the Nisshin Maru had no right to move closer to the Bob Barker.
However, a user of Reddit.com who is familiar with the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGs) wrote the following:
The Bob Barker is very much in the wrong in this situation. These two vessels are undergoing an operation known as “underway replenishment”. Vessels engaged in this operation become “restricted in their ability to manoeuvre (RAM)”. I am unable to see from the video whether or not she is displaying her day shapes to indicate so, but either way the Nisshin Maru has properly warned the Bob Barker to keep clear. As the Nisshin Maru is RAM, the Bob Barker, which is under “power-driven vessel” status must avoid a vessel RAM. COLREGs Rule 18 (a)(ii)
The second mistake is the attempt to overtake these two ships so close. This is a direct violation of COLREGs Rule 13 (d) which governs overtaking. “Any subsequent alteration of the bearing between the two vessels shall not make the overtaking vessel a crossing vessel within the meaning of these Rules or relieve her of the duty of keeping clear of the overtaken vessel until she is finally past and clear.” Because of the fact that the Bob Barker is within 22.5 degrees abaft (behind) the beam (line in the middle from side to side) of both vessels, she is to keep well clear and safely overtake the vessels on either the port or starboard sides.
Any remotely competent mariner would not find themselves in this position. a smaller vessel like the Bob Barker should not have much difficulty avoiding this even near the start of this video. The Bob Barker should have used astern propulsion to remove herself from the middle of these two vessels.
It has come to my attention that the Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies has published an excellent new article about the “Comfort Women” issue. Gavan Gray of Ristumeikan University explores how an inaccurate historical narrative has come to be accepted as unquestionable truth among Asian and Western countries that so harshly criticize Japan’s handling of the issue:
The clash between Japan and South Korea over redress for former ‘comfort women’ is a key element preventing stronger ties between the two neighbours. The issue has also diverted attention from the larger problem of human-trafficking that plagues both countries. In recent years understanding of the issue has been broadened by Asian scholars who have moved beyond the version that was dominant in the early 1990s. In the West however, perceptions remain as they were twenty years ago, repeating as fact elements that have been brought into question or utterly disproven. This inaccurate portrayal by Western media and governments has compromised resolution of the issue in Asia and failed to acknowledge widespread use of equivalent systems of prostitution by both South Korea and the USA. The reason Japan was so specifically targeted lies in a timely convergence of feminism, Korean nationalism and latent anti-Japanese racism. Acting to exaggerate the cruelty of Japan’s system while ignoring those of other nations, these factors prevented Japan and South Korea from developing a new perspective on the issue that would allow stronger ties between the two and refocus the campaign to end exploitation of Asian women.