Tuesday, August 7, 2007

5 Reasons to hire a private investigator

A professional does a better job investigating adultery
Winning custody today is nearly impossible. A courtroom is no place for the weak at heart and poor planner. Will you fail to plan? If so plan to fail. A private investigator can offer a real solution to strategy for winning. Here’s what to consider in your day in court.

Discovering an affair in your relationship is indispensable, but that’s just the beginning of what you will face. A family court ruling will be rendered either for or against you and your children. A judge will decide for you based on the EVIDENCE, who is the best custodial parent. If your state considers infidelity grounds for divorce, PROOF is essential! If you are party to a legal action, your observations, discoveries and testimony is already tainted with BIAS. This article will give you a few insights to consider. I’ve identified 5 key reasons you SHOULD hire an investigator and in a few words examine the reasons why.

1. Time is of the essence. Depending on the length of an affair, your spouse may end it without ample opportunity for you to document it. On average affairs last six months to a year and then end without your knowledge. However, in some cases, your spouse will divorce you for the mistress. So waiting to prove your case may be too late. Don’t let the opportunity escape you.

2. Satisfy your “Need to Know.” Over three decades my agencies have worked for countless clients who spanned the US. More than half of these clients had a “need to know.” Finding out the extent of an affair, the identity of the mistress/paramour is indispensable. If you feel a gripping urgency to gratify this need, recognize you share in the feelings with a vast number of others.

3. You should not witness the affair yourself. In one case a client insisted on witnessing her husband activities. I discouraged her. We placed him under surveillance for a “nooner,” a lunchtime rendezvous. It was a successful surveillance with an unexpected twist. The subject united with his mistress as we anticipated. They choose a remote parking area in front of a river bank on a dead end street. This was a favorite hangout for teenagers surrounded by woods and plenty of cover from public view. We shadowed them successfully. The hood of his vehicle served their desires and clandestine behavior. Roughly fifteen minutes passed and a female emerged from the nearby woods. She moved toward us. We were concerned she would blow our cover. To our shock it was our client! She was so compelled to witness the affair for herself that she walked through heavy woods and brush to do so. Auspiciously for us and her spouse, no confrontation ensued. Now if it weren’t so heartbreaking, the episode would be humorous. Her garb was utterly out of place. A full length white dress was the wrong attire for the woods. It seemed she never realized her mistake. Take my advice, please leave investigations to professionals. (Related: Retaliation affair)

4. Professional Testimony frequently prevails! Finding yourself seated in a courtroom with two opposing attorneys, court employees, is the wrong time to realize how unprepared you are for day. You will need testimony from others. Friends can offer some degree of support for your case. They may hold up under cross examination. If your witness list only includes family and friends, be prepared for a frightful revelation. Even though they are trustworthy, try convincing a court system. You are fighting a losing battle. Their innate bias and testimony bear little weight in the final assessment. Are you confident your witnesses’ testimony will have credibility? Do they possess the experience you need? After all, you have one chance in most family courtrooms. What if your witness is caught in a lie? You’re finished! A judge will rule against you for bringing in someone who is not forthright. Court testimony is enormously helpful, it often decides legal cases. My testimony has always made a positive difference. If your investigator obtains evidence for your case, use it to your family’s advantage. Your kids may just have to visit as an alternative to dwelling with you.

5. Your emotions could get you thrown in jail. Domestic investigations always bring concern for private investigative agencies. One notable case resulted in vehicular homicide. The client asked her hired PI for the rendezvous site. She arrived in a rage killing her spouse with the SUV. Clearly, when an investigation is warranted, hire a professional and keep your distance. If you conduct your own surveillance, be prepared to defend yourself against a stalking charge. Keep your distance and your head!

For additional information on contracting a PI discover how with my new paperback, "The More You Know – Getting the evidence and support you need to investigate a troubled relationship." I included an entire chapter on the topic.

Read More......

Yoga Tips That May Encourage Weight Maintenance or Loss

Summary: Denise Benitez is the owner of Seattle Yoga Arts and collaborated with Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to conduct a study that looked at the effect of yoga on weight. The study was published in the journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. Below are some of the tips offered by Benitez to lose or maintain weight. (Related: How to lose weight during middle age)

* Practice in a room without mirrors, and pay more attention to your internal experience than to your outer performance.
* Learn to feel sensations more and more subtly, so that you become deeply involved in and curious about small movements, sometimes called micro-movements.
* In your poses, find an edge for yourself where you are challenged but not overwhelmed. At this edge, practice maintaining a clear, open and accepting mental state.
* Give yourself permission to rest when you feel overworked.
* Pay close attention to what you are saying to yourself as you practice, and make an intentional effort to appreciate your own efforts and innate goodness.

* Go to class faithfully, arrive early, and talk to a few people in yourPhoto of a man performing a yoga asana. class before class begins.
* Buy your own yoga mat and yoga wear and bring it to class.
* Realize that the development of qualities like patience, discipline, wisdom, right effort, kindness, gratitude and many others will arise from your yoga practice. These qualities create a steady and soft mind.
* Find a teacher who offers a balance of gentleness and firmness and whose teaching inspires you to practice from your highest self. (Related: Yoga lifetyle)
* Recognize that simply attending class is a major statement of courage, self-care, and positive momentum. Realize that you are inspiring others as you become more true to your deepest desires.

Read More......

How to be a sexy woman?

Tips and ideas for women to be sexy, seductive, and stylish
Since we published the article How to be an attractive woman, we have received dozens of emails from women all over the world, asking several somewhat related questions: How to be sexy, how to be seductive, how to dress sexy, how to look/feel attractive/sexy/seductive, ideas to get your boyfriend to find you more attractive, how to be seductive/seductive dressing for women, tips for wearing sexy clothes, and many others. This article will try to answer all of these questions.

Who is a sexy woman?

* She is not a bad person. Even mothers or religious/devout women can be sexy too. There is nothing wrong with being sexy.
* You don't have to be sexy for a man. You can be one just for your own happiness. You can also be one even when you are alone and no one is looking at you. It is not something that you do to please others; you can do it for yourself - this is a lifestyle.
* You do not have to dress provocatively or expose skin that makes you uncomfortable.
* You do not have to spend a million dollars.
* You do not need a perfect body of a model or a movie star. I have seen a lot of women thatPhoto of a sexy woman of Asian and Hispanic origin wearing a white tube top with low riding jeans have great bodies or unlimited money

So how to become one?

You will need four things and let us spend time on each one of them in detail.

* Style
o Develop your own. It is OK to learn from celebrities, idols, models, etc. but eventually you need a style that works for you.
o Apply the style to everything about you: hair, clothing, accessories, makeup.
o Pay attention to detail. Some tips - do not ever use cheap/dirty underwear just because no one is going to see it, or not clean your shoes, or have a messy purse, or skip on personal hygiene (regular showers, oral hygiene, women's personal hygiene, hair care, etc.).
o It is OK to have few clothes but they should be in good shape and fit you well. Show what is good about your body and hide what is not so good.
o Learn other things that sexy women have: flirtatious, charming, desirable, and above all, fun to be around.

* Behavior/personality/etiquette
o No matter how good looking you are; if you do not behave like a sexy lady, it doesn't matter. So learnPicture of a Latina woman with an attitude that shows off her confidence as a woman all the etiquettes and tricks that a sexy woman has. If it means attending an etiquette or finishing or modeling school, do it. It is worth the investment.
o Stop being mean or nasty or obnoxious or arrogant or bitchy. People will love you if you are sweet and polite and a pleasant woman to be with.
* Posture
o In other words, how you carry yourself around. As I said before, forget if you are short or fat or old, always carry yourself around as a sexy woman. Stand straight with your head high and walk like a model. (Related article: Good posture)
o If you don't know how to do this, it is good to watch television and/or attend a school for models. I also recommend that you take dancing lessons. Not to mention the importance of exercising regularly.

* Voice/talk
o It can make all the difference. Now not much can be done about your actual voice since that is Nature's gift but you can still do a lot about how you talk. Learn to speak seductively and you will notice that immediately people pay attention to you. A voice coach can help you do that.
o Keep yourself informed on the basics. If you are clueless on what is going on, people will think of you as an airhead. You don't have to be an expert in anything but if you have enough knowledge about some simple facts related to fashion, politics, business, gossip, current events, movies, etc., you will be alright in most situations. If you don't know anything about a topic, admit it, and ask questions. And then listen with rapt attention. Men love an attentive woman and find her very sexy.

Read More......

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Tips for Visitors to Hong Kong

Hong Kong, or to give its more formal title, Hong Kong - Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, is a busy vibrant place with an intriguing history. A cultural clash that seems to work, with Chinese and British co-existing, Hong Kong is found nestled in the eastern side of the Pearl River Delta, on the south-eastern coast of China.
In January 1841, the Ch'ing Dynasty was defeated during the First Opium War and Hong Kong quickly became a British colony. In 1898, the New Territories — a rural area north of Boundary Street in the Kowloon district of Hong Kong — were leased to Britain for 99 years. So, in 1997 Hong Kong was handed back to the People's Republic of China.

However, this did little to change the way of life in Hong Kong and it remains a wonderfully unique place to visit and enjoy.

Getting Around

Once you have arrived in Hong Kong, either by boat or by airplane, as there is a seaport and airport, there is a fantastic public transport system for easy travelling. Buses have internal matrix signs giving details of not only the next stop, but the estimated time of arrival (eta) and nearby major landmarks and hotels. The Mass Transit Railway (HK's equivalent of the London Underground) is clean and runs like clockwork, and the ferries between Hong Kong island, the mainland and the outlying islands are cheap and offer great views. Here are some handy hints for getting around:

* As soon as you can, buy an Octopus Card or Bat Dat Toong (a regular one, not a tourist keepsake). You can load these up with credit and then all you have to do to pay for travel is swipe the card over the conveniently placed pads. You can even use them to pay for goods in some shops.

* Taxis are plentiful but if you're planning a night out, make sure you have something with your hotel name and address on it, preferably in Cantonese and English. Otherwise, you may end up on a magical mystery tour...

* The Star Ferry (between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island) is extremely cheap and gives you some of the best views of the city.

* If you use cash, rather than an Octopus Card (really, these are worth it!), then the buses need exact change.

* Other forms of public transport, like rickshaws, trams and rentable bicycles are all worth a bash - and are inexpensive too.


It is possible to find just about any kind of cuisine in Hong Kong. From noodle bars that are little more than a hole in a wall to big, posh restaurants, you can get pretty much any kind of food you like. You could even find yourself sitting in a wood panelled room with stuffed deer heads on the walls, eating haggis and mash. However, if you want to try out the local dishes, here are a few useful nuggets for eating out in Honkers1:

* 'Beef', especially in a cheaper establishment, doesn't necessarily mean the meat from a cow; it may also include offal.

* 'Vegetarian' meals sometimes include chicken meat.

* Don't wear pale colours until you've got the hang of chopsticks.

* If in doubt, go for things you can point at.

* Alcohol tends to be very expensive, but most hotels and bars have a happy hour with two for one deals and similar on beers, wines and spirits of all sorts.

* Watch the locals - they will hold their bowls of noodles close to their mouths and shovel the food in. Not always attractive, but so much easier.

* Although you can't go a couple of steps without tripping over someone trying to sell you food, noodle bars at lunchtimes are exceptionally busy.

* Some places may look tatty, but don't let this put you off - the food is usually very good (and very cheap).

* Finally, don't be afraid to try it. It won't taste like your usual Chinese take-away - it'll be much, much better!


When you've finished stuffing yourself silly, take a saunter down Gascoigne Road on the Kowloon Peninsula (take the MTR to Jordan, then head north up Nathan Road - Gascoigne Road is on your right). It is rammed with the cheapest clothes shops you may ever have seen. There are many bargains to be had if you are prepared to root around a bit.

On the other side of the coin, avoid the Temple Street night market, as it is largely full of 'tat' and rip-off designer goods. By all means take a look, but don't expect to find much worth buying, unless you like fake Gucci...

Things to See and Do

Besides wandering around the city and marvelling at the huge glassy skyscrapers, you may also want to check out the following:

* The giant Buddha statue on Lantau Island is a ferry ride and bus journey away, and it is a staggering sight. However, there is a massive flight of stairs to climb if you want to get up close and personal with him!

* No trip to Hong Kong is complete without a tram ride up to Victoria Peak. Pick a clear day (or night) for classic views over the city.

* Not to be missed is the ancient Man Mo temple on Hollywood Road, Hong Kong Island. Even though it nestles neatly between hundred-storey blocks of flats, it has an especially calming ambience.

* If you like a flutter, why not take in some horse-racing at the Happy Valley Racecourse.

The real charm of visiting Hong Kong though is just being able to wander the streets and take in the city itself. There are so many contrasts - towering skyscrapers right next to little crumbling buildings with corrugated iron roofs, wealthy business people strutting past little old men beating out scrap metal in the gutter, the city itself right up against mountains and forests.

When to Visit

Weatherwise, October, November and most of December are the best months to go to Hong Kong. You can expect sunshine and clear skies, without the expensive hotel rates that accompany the high season of March to April. Bear in mind that travel can be difficult during Chinese New Year (late January/ early February). Expect considerable heat, humidity and showers during the rainy season of June to September.

Hong Kong really lets its hair down for two major parties. One of these is the traditional Chinese New Year celebrations with lion dances, fireworks and colourful parades, but it is worth noting that during the New Year festivities many shops and restaurants close for a full week! The other major excuse for a 'knees-up' is the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens tournament, which attracts rugby fans from all over the world. Whatever time of year you might choose to visit Hong Kong though, make sure you are aware of the political environment too!

Read More......

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Moving Comfort Women's Fiona Bra

Product Description
For the ultimate in support and comfort, high-performance fabric keeps you cool, flexes with you. Design lines offer great support and shaping. Plush-back, high-modulus bottom band provides firm support. Self-fabric binding around armholes, neckline and straps. Proportions and contours of neck and armholes engineered to minimize chafing and maximize support. Densely packed texturized thread minimizes chafing. Shell: 83% polyester/17% Lycra®. Interior molded bra cups: 100% polyester. Imported.

Read More......

SILK Micro G-String Thong Panty 4 COLORS Red Cobalt Purple or Black Y-Back

100% Silk Stretch Knit Micro G-string thong panty with Y-Back. Elastic waistband for comfort. Narrow cotton lined crotch. One Size fits Small to size 12. Silk is a Magical natural fiber of unmatched beauty and comfort. Because no two pieces of silk are alike, each silk garment has its own subtly unique qualities. Machine washable.

Read More......

SILK Micro G-String Thong Rings Panty 4 COLORS Red Cobalt Purple or Black

These teeny, tiny thongs are made of 100% Silk Knit. Micro G-string panty with silver tone ring hardware in front and back. Elastic waistband for comfort. Narrow cotton lined crotch. Silk is a Magical natural fiber of unmatched beauty and comfort. Because no two pieces of silk are alike, each silk garment has its own subtly unique qualities. Machine washable. Small-Large

Read More......

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Indonesia's Guitar Warrior

Rabbis are an uncommon sight in Indonesia, much less at a performance by the country's top rock star. Yet there they were, tapping along as Ahmad Dhani (also known as Dhani Dewa) sang his Warriors of Love at a recent conference in Bali on religious tolerance. Afterward, the rabbis—along with Islamic, Hindu and Catholic clerics—jostled for photos with the rock star.

The 35-year-old Muslim may have a way to go before reaching the musician-statesman stature of Bono, but he is talking the talk. "Warriors of Love is a song about love and tolerance for people of different faiths," he explains. "We reject the teachings of hate and the extremists who preach it." Some of his backers hope to widen the song's appeal by assembling a multilingual Muslim star cast to render it as a kind of We Are the World anthem of global Islamic moderation.

Dhani first has to win over his homeland, however. He grew up in Surabaya, listening to Queen and Japanese jazz-fusion outfit Casiopea. After notching up seven platinum albums in Indonesia with his own band, Dewa 19, he announced his intention to wean millions of his countrymen away from extremist Islamic views. "What happens depends on how we deal with the radicals and teach people about Islam," explains Dhani, who says he quit a religious school as a child because he was put off by its conservative Wahhabi teachings. "It's time to come together, even if we have to do it one song at a time."

While international music fans have yet to take notice, the U.S. security establishment already has. Last October, Dhani spoke at a Defense Department-sponsored conference at NORAD in Colorado Springs, explaining to military and government officials why he rejected the path of his father, a former member of the hard-line body Dewan Dakwah Islamiyah Indonesia, as well as that of his grandfather, a member of the outlawed Darul Islam, which once fought for an Islamic state in the archipelago. In so doing, the rock star "has chosen to help us annihilate the crisis of misunderstanding of the Muslim world," says C. Holland Taylor, an American who founded the LibForAll Foundation to promote moderate Islam, and who accompanied Dhani to NORAD. (It is Taylor's foundation that plans to gather other Muslim pop stars for the multilingual version of Warriors of Love.)

But promoting greater understanding of Islam may be a tall order for a star whose private life and secular peccadilloes, often fodder for sensational stories in Indonesian newspapers, seem at odds with his message of spirituality and tolerance. He is estranged from his wife and has told newspaper reporters that women should be free to do as they please "as long as they don't refuse," and that the place of a wife "is one level below the man." He has also been photographed posing in Jacuzzis with young starlets. Although these were publicity shots staged with performers that Dhani was trying to promote as a music producer, they made conservative Indonesians uncomfortable. "I doubt people will take him seriously as someone who can speak about religion given his personal problems," says Jakarta college student Mega Kharismawati, voicing a view common among her peers.

Then there is Dhani's self-professed interest in Sufism. The Sufis make up a mystical branch of Islam that conservative Muslims dismiss as unconventional at best, and deviant at worst. "The fact that he is a Sufi is already going to be controversial with most Indonesian Muslims," says Hamid Basyaib, director of the Liberal Islam Network, a Jakarta-based organization promoting a moderate version of Islam. So will Dhani's admission that he does not pray five times a day—one of the religion's cardinal commands. Says Shofwan Chairul of the University of Indonesia's Islamic Students Association: "People respect him for his music, not his religious views."

Critics say Dhani's newfound spiritual interest masks the falling sales of Dewa 19's albums (the latest shifted 400,000 copies, in contrast to the two previous ones, which sold over a million each). But residual love for his music remains sky high. "Most Indonesians have had a Dewa 19 moment," says Rian Pelor, a music writer for Trax magazine. Certainly, there is no musician like Dhani in the country—he is Indonesia's Cobain or Lennon. And while his new musical tack has been greeted with suspicion in some quarters, what if it does articulate a concern of Indonesia's silent majority? Channeling their feelings is something that Dhani has never failed to do in the past. "Music can reach the masses in a way that Muslim teachers cannot," he declares. "We hope to touch the kids in a way that will make them think about their faith." For now though, whether or not Warriors of Love can drown out the warriors of militant Islam is anyone's guess.

Read More......

Hong Kong: The Next 10 Years

I was very afraid when China took back Hong Kong in 1997. People told me that as soon as the People's Liberation Army entered the city, they would arrest all counter-revolutionaries. Someone predicted 3,000 arrests. Someone else said 400. I was thinking: even if only 20 or 30 people are arrested, I would be among them. So I tried to prepare myself psychologically. I pondered what books I would take to read in prison. I thought that I could accept the reality of the situation. But when I woke up in the middle of the night, I was covered in cold sweat. Then I realized how scared I was.

My fears turned out to be unfounded, of course. Since the handover 10 years ago, I've been able to pursue my reading list free from incarceration. People who know how aggressively my newspaper, Apple Daily, has criticized Hong Kong and mainland authorities might be surprised to hear me say this, but I have been pleasantly surprised at how the past decade has unfolded. Overall, China has tried to abide by the Basic Law, Hong Kong's mini-constitution, and despite a turbulent seven years under the inept leadership of former Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa, the territory is prospering. That is not to say there aren't concerns. Hong Kong suffers greatly from a lack of full democracy. The press censors itself to avoid angering the powers that be. (For refusing to pull its punches, Apple Daily publishes under a boycott by pro-Beijing businesses that costs us $25 million a year in advertising revenue.) Hong Kong's air quality is deteriorating, as is the standard of English. And landmarks that form a key part of Hong Kong's identity are being demolished to make way for development.

But the most important piece of our identity that is being destroyed is, unlike the Star Ferry terminal or Queen's Pier, something you can't see. That's Hong Kong's independent, entrepreneurial spirit. For years we have succeeded because of a low-tax, small-government system that fostered a dynamic economy. The free market provided opportunities for Hong Kong people to use their creativity to get ahead. Since 2003, when China allowed growing numbers of mainland tourists to visit here and goose us out of our post-SARS stagnation, we have grown increasingly dependent on handouts from the mainland. We are becoming more like China, and less like the cosmopolitan, international city we once were. The risk is that we lose our entrepreneurial zeal and become wholly dependent on the mainland's economy.

That would be dangerous. While China's growth over the past 20 years has been impressive, the country has not escaped the laws of economics. There is no such thing as a perpetual-motion machine. Eventually China, like every other country in the world, will hit an economic rough patch—and for China it will be exceptionally rough. Chinese society today is a moral and spiritual vacuum. People care only about making money, not for one another. If the economic pie grows smaller, people will fight one another ferociously for a piece of it. Things could get brutal, and we will feel the fallout in Hong Kong, too. Elsewhere, NGOs and religious organizations help out during hard times. But, in China, the Communist Party has gutted those civil institutions—the churches, temples, unions and cultural associations—that people depend on when times are tough.

Hong Kong can help with that. We were the mustard seed for the mainland economy, providing not just the investment but also the management concepts that allowed it to grow to where it is today. So too can Hong Kong provide the foundation for the civic institutions that the country will need to truly thrive. China should look to Hong Kong for help developing those institutions.

And, as difficult as it may seem, China should look for help from Taiwan. The island has institutions that protect and nurture ideas. It is a place where people don't have to be afraid of holding unpopular opinions. Most importantly, Taiwan has a fully functioning democracy.

China would do well to allow Hong Kong that kind of freedom. It would be to Beijing's benefit. By allowing Hong Kong people to choose their own leaders, China would be praised by the global community of democracies. And that would give the mainland time to work out its own political reforms with less pressure from outside. Hong Kong could provide a model to show what sort of democracy can work best on Chinese soil. And the freedom to pick its own leaders would undoubtedly aid Hong Kong. Under the present system, loyalty to the central government is a more important criterion than loyalty to Hong Kong. That's how an incompetent leader like Tung managed to stay in office so long. Given the right to choose, Hong Kong people wouldn't make that mistake.

People sometimes say that a man whose publications are filled with swimsuit models and car crashes isn't the right messenger for the noble values of democracy and freedom. I reply that I'm not here to be a hero. I'm not here to be a saint. I'm here to fight for what I believe in. Yes, I am still afraid. But Hong Kong is my home. I am stuck in this fight.

Read More......

Inside a Boutique Political Party

To her classmates, the party is something to which you bring a karaoke machine. But to Michiko Suzuki, a 19-year-old Wako University student in Tokyo, the party is the revolutionary vanguard of class struggle. Suzuki, you see, is a teenage Japanese communist. Bolshevism runs in her family. The daughter and granddaughter of party members, she joined the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) as soon as she turned 18. "The purpose of the JCP is to change Japan," says Suzuki. "If the party becomes bigger, then Japan will be changed into a place where my dreams are realized."

The idea of communists soldiering on in the world's second-largest economy more than 15 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union may invite comparisons to Japanese soldiers stranded on remote Pacific islands who thought that World War II had never ended. But the JCP is far from extinct. It claims some 400,000 members, and garnered 7.3% of the vote—from 4.92 million voters—in the most recent legislative elections in 2005. "The JCP is probably the most successful non-ruling communist party in Asia, if not the world," says Lam Peng Er, a research fellow at the National University of Singapore's East Asian Institute.

That success has it roots in the JCP's long history. Born in 1922 as the Japanese branch of the Communist International, the global federation of Marxist-Leninist parties created by Moscow, the JCP quickly adapted itself to local conditions. It was one of the few Japanese groups to stand up to the rise of imperial militarists in the run-up to World War II, and suffered as a result. "The JCP was the only political party that struggled against the past war of aggression with the sacrifice of members' lives," says JCP chairman Kazuo Shii. That principled stance earned the respect of many Japanese after the war ended, and JCP members were allowed to run for office. Though the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) would come to control Japanese politics, the JCP provided a reliable leftist opposition bloc with the larger and more mainstream Japan Socialist Party.

Today the JCP is still relevant at a time when communists in other countries have all but vanished. While the largest Japanese parties lack a clear and cohesive identity, the JCP may benefit by virtue of actually standing for something—even if what it stands for is "a socialist/communist society," as stated in its manifesto, in a decidedly capitalist country. "The JCP is a boutique party, but it's the only political party in Japan that has a strong grassroots organization," says Lam. "In a way, the communists are probably the most modern political party in Japan." Despite holding just 18 of the 722 seats in the Diet, the JCP often functions as the only genuine opposition to politics-as-usual in Tokyo. Communist politicians have repeatedly uncovered damaging financial scandals in government—they're too far removed from power to be enmeshed in Tokyo's endemic corruption. "We are the watchdog, but we go further than that," says Shii. "I think the advance of the JCP will be key to the advance of Japanese politics."

It's hard to believe that the most progressive political force in Japan still adheres to Marxism. (When I half-seriously asked one college-aged party member whether he reads the classics, he reached into his backpack and produced Volume II of the 13-volume Japanese translation of Das Kapital.) But the JCP will likely pick up protest votes in July's legislative elections, and the party is zealously recruiting new members. "I think my friends and those around me have a lot of difficulty and hardship finding themselves, having any confidence in themselves," says Suzuki, the Wako University student. "But as a member of the JCP, I have a wider perspective on my future. I know we have possibility." Who said the war was over, comrade?

Read More......