Dwayne Lively is a writer, editor and teacher who came to Japan "for just
a couple of years" after stints in such third world locales as Albania and
Mississippi. He is now in the middle of his tenth year in Ye Olde Nippon and teaches at Rikkyo Niiza Junior High and High School, a Protestant Episcopal school in Saitama Prefecture near Tokyo.
The Crazy Japan Times began as a series of letters to your humble editor's Stateside friends. The original series was a running commentary on the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano. That was followed by "day by day" summaries of ongoing Sumo tournaments mailed to people who had just returned home after working in Japan a few years but who still had the sumo bug. These summaries were accompanied by odd bits of pop cultural and political news.
Then, in the year 2000, a number of key things happened:
One, your humble editor's new job prevented him from seeing tournaments live.
Two, Professional Sumo Digest, a nightly summary of the day's sumo action, was moved from 11:00 p.m. to 11:40, making it much harder for your "dedicated" humble editor to justify staying up late to review the action as he had to get up at 5:00 a.m every morning to get ready for work.
Lastly, a series of absurd scandals and cover-ups came to light, including the truth behind the Tokai Village nuclear accident (the workers were carrying enriched uranium around in buckets) and a couple scandals involving the Saitama police department (they ignored a woman's claim she was being stalked and then covered up her complaint after she was murdered; and they covered up the fact that two officers let a man die in the back of a truck because he was too dirty to put in their car.)
Add to this a series of scandals involving celebrities and your humble editor couldn't wait until a Sumo basho to report the news. He quickly wrote a couple hasty missives dubbed The Crazy Japan Times in honor of the English language daily The Japan Times. Unfortunately, through carelessness and a lack of foresight, these early missives were lost (i.e. your bumbling editor accidently deleted them without realizing he hadn't saved a copy) but are in the process of being recreated.
Because the goofy news never seems to let up here in Japan, the missives have continued to come out every few months after a sufficient critical mass of absurdity has been reached. While it's true that all countries have their share of absurdity, Japanese scandals, perhaps because the island is so small and yet so heavily populated, have a flavor all their own. If nothing else, Japanese judges can be counted on for a newsworthy gem at least once every few months. (For evidence see here and here.)
Since the first issues, the readership of the CJT has grown slowly but surely. Recently a number of long term sufferers suggested that past CJTs be posted on the web, for better and for worse, so that others may gain the same, tiny iota of pleasure they have from the missives.
Your humble editor, however, being, well, humble, was not keen on a vanity site that merely featured his writing. He, therefore, added the Crazy Japan Guide for those brave and crazy few who might be interested in moving to this absurd and wonderful island. He also realizes that large blocks of text are not the most fun thing available on the web. All pages, therefore, include internal navigation bars to help new sufferers find their way around. The style is boring by design and hopefully will download quickly.
The CJT and the CJG are thus offered for your consideration.