Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Trump's Visit to Japan


President Trump made a 13-day of five countries in Asia, starting with Japan (followed by S. Korea, China, Vietnam and the Phillipines). An earlier post on this blog showed some of the reactions that the print media had during Trump's initial election.
The above tweet shows the leaders of America and Japan posing with the performer of last year's popular novelty song PPAP, Pikotaro. Interestingly, the flasy gold costume that is the trademark of Pikotaro is practically camouflage in the decadent dining hall.

Cultural humor for the ex-pat crowd in Japan. Japanese people are always very polite, diplomatic and complimentary to foreigners. The above tweet captures that experience suggesting that Japanese people probably complimented Trump for being able to use compliments; which foreigners in Japan find to be a tiresome, shallow and cliche remark to give people but Trump has proven that he loves any kind of compliments and will prolong his interactions with people as long as such positivity flows.

Trump critics pointed to photos of him dumping fish food into a koi pond at a high-class facility in Tokyo, suggesting that this was a faux pas reflecting Trumps borishness, callousness, cultural insensitivity and lack of gratitude for the experience and blindness to the opportunity to use the situation as a meditative exercise in slow contemplative interaction.

Note the above picture. It is interesting that Trump often takes the same standby pose when listening to foreign dignitaries in front of cameras; holding his shoulders squarely to the cameras, hands pressed together when he is not speaking with gestures to a large crowd, legs spread apart occupying space in a type of pre-meditated power move. While the emperor is turning his body toward Trump while smiling warmly and he seems to be speaking freely in a light and friendly manner.

The above tweet again focuses on the koi photo but Japanese Twitter users were more defensive of Trump than the general American population (the majority of whom disapprove of Trump in general). The user here points out that Trump was only following the lead of Prime Minister Abe, exactly. The feeling here is that "the media" (some media outlets and commentators) omitted the context of the situation to make Trump look bad. Others went even further to blame Abe for conducting himself brutishly in this situation.

Prime Minister Abe made his own gaffe during a round of golf with Trump, when the PM tumbled backwards into a sandtrap but then scrambled back to his feet, seemingly while being ignored by the golfing party.

The last tweet is in line with previous jokes about Trump's unrefined tastes for gourmet food and his preferences for fast food and sodas.
Handlers arranged for Trump to eat hamburgers from a Tokyo burger joint.
While President Obama visited a world class sushi restaurant that would be beyond the budget of ordinary people, the burger that Trump ate costs about 1200 yen (about 11 dollars). Interestingly, the locals have been flocking to try the burger set that Trump had and for the low price, it is not a big risk for anyone to try.

An interesting article about the technical difficulty of translating Trump's speaking style into Japanese.

The above video compares the visit that Obama made to the Emperor and the visit by Trump. Opponents of Obama were critical of his overly polite bowing and suggested that it was an embarrassment to American diplomacy fitting in the thematic attacks that American liberals are weak and tend toward globalism rather American interests. This is surely the exact type of points that Trump used to propel himself onto the American political stage, so he must have been planning on how he would handle the gentile situation while projecting strength and differentiating himself from his political antipole.