Why it's your friend and mine: Michael Moore!
I was just reading about Mike on Debito's site earlier on, and how he had challenged the new fingerprinting system at the airport when he had entered the country. His comments are here, in a transcript that Debito posted (not sure where he got it from) and of course I recently left and entered the country and had to be fingerprinted in that way for the first time. My attitude was sadly pragmatic - I don't want to be fingerprinted, and it is indicative of Japan's frankly immature attitude to foreigners, but really it's not going to make any difference to my life. And to be honest, the fingerprinting aside I got a lot more hassle going through British customs than I did going through Japanese customs.
Anyway Mike came across pretty well in the short variety appearance I saw him on. He talked about his new movie, about how Japan learned some of these financial lessons already, and he even cracked a joke about Hatoyama's mother's money - better informed than any other Western celebrity I've seen on Japanese TV. He did seem a little hesitant though, as the show was very light entertainment.
There was an unnecessarily confusing moment towards then end, when a comedian cracked a joke, which was intended sarcastically but translated literally, Mike took it literally and made a comment, but then everyone rushed to explain that it was just a joke. Mike was like, oh, I see, then made a tongue in cheek comment of his own, which the Japanese guests didn't really get, and then they thought maybe he thought the real politicians were comedians too so... uh, it was a little stupid.
Plus I just started re-reading Dogs and Demons, which I'll write about when I've finished, but suffice to say there's nothing good about Japanese bureaucracy in there. So Mike's positive comments about Japan, while cautiously worded enough to not leave him looking like a fool, kind of left a weird taste in my mouth.
Anyway, Michael Moore has a new movie out! Didn't know that.