Friday, February 12, 2010

Santa's Workshop to the World

Leaving aside Toyota, which is assembled by non-union labor in the Confederate States of America and so may be expected to be afflicted (like Republican thought) with brain scale, Japan never ceases to amaze me by the sheer magnitude and quality of the toys it assembles and sends to the world.

My first serious toy was Japanese — a Yashica Penta-J SLR — and nearly everything I've ever bought for fun since then, except candy, was Japanese. My DS Lite and PSP are, as are nearly all the great videogames I've ever played. My car is a Honda, and, unlike Toyota, back in 2000 when I bought it, it was literally "Made in Japan" and now has over 112,000 miles with virtually no time in the shop except for Jiffy-Lube. And, believe me,if Japan sent over a chain of fast lube places, I wouldn't use Jiffy-Lube either. What's the word? Yamato-damashii means "Japan does try harder, after all," and I believe it. For many years, those islands have been my idea of Santa's Workshop.

Except for the Finland branch, which gave the world Linux and a reason to believe in open source. Thank you, Linus Torvalds, who is the aforementioned Mr. Claus! I mention all this because this has been a lucky week for me: finally admitted me to the kingdom, after a year's delay, I found Arno's Fuseki Database, and Kin's Homepage,,, Fuego (one of the hypermodern computer Go players), and two unexpected versions of Hikaru no Go [1, 2] for the GBA, which actually teach Japanese kids and students of the language how to play The Game.

Yeah, Finland. That, Japan... and... uh... Korea...

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