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the master plan?



There once was a man
In the American army.
He crossed to North Korea
Some thought he was barmy.

He lived there for years
Regretting his act.
He suffered some problems
With his urinary tract.

Then he met a J-lady
In a pub in Pyongyang.
They enjoyed happy times
At karaoke they sang.

They soon got hitched
Kim Jong-Il was best man.
The Dear Leader presented them
With a lovely fruit flan.

Then Koizumi turned up
And a commotion was caused.
Cos he was dressed up like Elvis
Which caused some applause.

The American man
And his Japanese wife.
Saw a chance to escape
From their trouble and strife.

Then one day it came
A chance to flee.
They took their chance
And now they're free.

His name is Charles Jenkins
Now he sells souvenirs in Japan
P'raps it was all part
Of his master plan.


I was leafing through a travel brochure yesterday, planning my escape from the summer heat; so imagine my surprise when I saw Charles Jenkins staring back at me from one of the pages, all dressed up in a happi, looking not-so-happy.

There's a speech bubble in Japanese where he's saying, "I am waiting for you," which sounds a bit ominous, if you ask me.


Jenkins-san: He's waiting for you.


The travel brochure offers three-day tours of Sado Island, where he now lives. One of the stops on the bus tour is at the souvenir shop where Jenkins-san works. There's even a disclaimer at the bottom of the page which roughly translates as, "There is a chance that you will be unable to meet Jenkins-san. It depends on his condition and working shift." The travel company evidently doesn't want to disappoint the hoards of Jenkins hunters that descend on the island every week.

Disclaimer (in red):


What an extraordinary life. Forty years in the world's most secretive state, and then four years (so far) on Sado Island selling omiyage. When he was a little boy, he never would've believed it.

With the Earth Festival coming up next month, he may well be getting a few more visitors than usual.
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On Monday, 28 July, 2008, Anonymous Scotty.VOR said:

A warped world we live in for sure...a US army deserter becomes a Japanese tourist attraction. That and, his choice of a lime green happi...

Warped indeed.  



On Monday, 28 July, 2008, Blogger Angelo said:

EH EH! Well, this only proves that anything works as an attraction in Japan! Soon the students will study this as the main attraction in Sado!  



On Monday, 28 July, 2008, Blogger Contamination said:

That's awesome.

What inspired you, what was your muse, what was the source for such a wonderful poem?

Selling Omiyage doesn't sound like hard work....  



On Monday, 28 July, 2008, Blogger tornadoes28 said:

He looks so excited in that pic. You would think someone finally free after 40 years under the boot of a dictator would look a little happier.  



On Tuesday, 29 July, 2008, Blogger Mike said:

omg, i'm soooo going to sado island!  



On Wednesday, 10 September, 2008, Anonymous been there said:

I went to Sado and happened to see him. Poor guy, turned into a dancing monkey just to survive.Having in mind that the average English skills of the people in Niigata are close to none, they could find him some better job, I believe.What is he doing now is to wrap souvenirs and to try to lookhappy, while actually isn't  



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