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    I studied Japanese literature in college and (abortively) grad school, and I lived in Japan for eleven wonderful years before deciding it was time to come back to the States.  I’m still not sure whether the experience made me more worldly or more tenaciously American–the best of both, I’d like to think, though one can’t judge these things about oneself–but it’s always colored what I post about.  I frequently link to articles on what I think is important news in Japan that isn’t getting much play in the Western media, translating them if they’re from Japanese-language sources.  If I’m in the mood, I sometimes translate a favorite poem that fits the season.

     

    As far as the rest of the political content goes…well, most of it ends up here because I think there are things that need to be said, not just by approved experts but also by those of us who are everyday informed citizens who have no aspirations to run for office or head a state bureaucracy.  It needs to be said that the government works for us.  It needs to be said that freedom of speech is meaningless if it doesn’t include the legal right to offend others’ cherished beliefs.  It needs to be said that, while you can accurately call the federal economic policies of the last decade any number of colorful things, you cannot accurately call them capitalist or free-market.  It needs to be said that no gay man or lesbian owes it to the Tribe to carry water for the political left.  And it needs to be said that liberty is not the natural order of things but a triumph of human imagination, requiring constant maintenance and constant vigilance.

    Sean Kinsell