In the game of soccer, it is a well known fact that the probability of winning the match is asymmetric between a home game and an away game. You have various advantages in a home game, with the support of fans and an in-depth knowledge of the field. In an away game, the audience is often against you, and you have to cope on a foreign soil.
Therefore, it is a laudable decision on the part of the Japanese government to introduce this new scheme of an "away nation", or "nation in an away situation". A secret draft, made known to me through a personal friend, outlines a 10 year plan to make the nation of Japan open to the world, making it more flexible and overcome its current economic difficulties, by encouraging its people to experience and learn from an away situation.
It has been well known that the Japanese excel in fabricating artifacts from electronics to automobiles. In the field of information technology and intellectual enterprising, however, the nation has been rather shy. One compromising factor has been that Japanese are reluctant to express themselves in a foreign language, making the ideas generated and distributed within the nation domestic in essence. The government feels that the closing of the Japanese mind has been a crucial factor behind the present economic stagnation, which is regarded by many as a result of the nation's lack of organizational intelligence.
The secret plan, code named "Benkei" after a famous Japanese warrior known for his venturing spirits, lists a series of action plans that would hopefully help the Japanese people perform better in an away situation. For example, it is proposed that students be encouraged to take gap years before entering, or after graduating from universities, which is very rare in Japan at present. It is also recommended that company executives take at least one month off before their significant promotions to do volunteer works abroad, where no secretary or company-provided chauffer-driven sedan (which is typically black in Japan as a symbol of authority and respectability) is available. Evaluation by the Health Ministry is under way whether the average Japanese businessperson would be able to survive such an ordeal.
It is also proposed that all major television stations in Japan, including NHK, Fuji, and Nippon, have a special broadcasting day (to be promoted as "Away Television") where they provide programs in English, Chinese, Finnish, and Swahili. The addition of Swahili is the result of the judgment of members of a secret committee that at present the African nations represent the most "away" situation in the Japanese psyche.
In the most extreme part of the plan, it is proposed that nation introduce a scheme code named "The Prince and The Pauper", to rectify the difference between "regular" and "temporary" employees. Specifically, pairs of regular and temporary employees would be chosen randomly in a national lottery process, where they are strongly recommended to swap positions. The recommendation would be delivered in a personal letter from the prime minister, with a specially designed T-shirt on which the letters "The Away Spirit" is printed. In the case of particularly challenging swaps such as a company executive swapping positions with a young part-time worker in a convenience store, a special T-shirt featuring Sakamoto Ryoma would be provided. Sakamoto Ryoma was a samurai at the end of Edo Era and is currently a popular symbol of the venturing spirit for many Japanese people. A drama series on the life of Sakamoto Ryoma is being broadcast on NHK. It is planned that the Ryoma drama would be broadcast in Swahili on the "Away Television" day.
As a special bonus, participants in the job swap program with high profiles would be offered appearances in a reality T.V. show entitled "Gekokujo" ("the low overcomes the high), with potential economic gains for the participants and the television station.
These schemes have been made open to me by a close friend of mine in the government, with the clear understanding that I am to be discreet about the distribution of this information. I therefore ask the readers of this blog not to forward this story to anyone who is obstinate and or does not support Manchester United.
A famous portrait of Sakamoto Ryoma. It is rumored that the prime minister would make a surprise announcement of the plan dressed as Sakamoto Ryoma complete with the samurai hairdo, within the next few days.