My friend Jon works as a translator and does a lot of freelance interpretation for people doing various political projects in Japan. Today he invited me to a meeting where he was going to be doing the interpreting. It was a strange deal.
The presentation was by two old school communists from Europe whose organization had helped in the recent strikes in France against the CPE - an anti-labor bill meant to undermine job security and facilitate labor outsourcing. I went because I wanted to hear more about the anti-CPE strikes. In fact, the Europeans were mostly interested in having a discussion about Marx's view that capitalism as inevitably doomed, and the Japanese weren't really interested in discussing anything. The presenters were fairly theoretical and didn't really have much in the way of practical suggestions. It was a small meeting, but I got to learn more about the history of the left in Japan. Actually, I've been hearing a fair bit about this, because Ken's father - who was quite traditional and only ever owned one or two western things - after becoming disillusioned with the socialists, consistently voted for the communist party.
In other news, now that I can understand a bit more Japanese, I realized that if the postman brings me a special delivery, he will actually take it right to the door of my apartment. A guy came to my 10th floor apartment on a Sunday evening at 8:30.