In relation to the Competitive Evaluation Process, events have moved along quite dramatically in just four weeks. For example, The Australian`s Greg Sheridan and Cameron Stewart have been writing at length on Andrew Shearer`s op-ed (co-written with Michael Green) which essentially said that the US prefers the Japanese option over those of the French and Germans, and that if the US is going to share its submarine combat system technology with Australia then it wishes for it to be installed in a Japanese submarine. Not surprisingly, TKMS and DCNS were not exactly thrilled to learn of this, especially given that last year they were seeking assurances from the US that it would remain neutral on the CEP and not undertake any lobbying on behalf of Japan.
For Japan, however, such news has been a win fall. At the back of everyone`s mind is the idea that as the US quietly favours the Japanese option, strategic elements along with technical ones will come to dominate the selection agenda. Ultimately it is up to the Australian government to make up its mind about which option it would prefer, but these reports and others like them will be influential, there`s no doubt about it.
In the meantime, as this is 2016, I`ve been pondering whether it is time to let the ol` Pre Modern Japanese website go. I made that website 5 years ago, and while it presume it has been of use to some in their studies, for the past five years I`ve been renewing the domain name and that process is getting more expensive. Besides, I`ve no real way of knowing whether the site has been of any use to anyone. Which is to say that the feedback has not been overwhelming, so keeping that site running does not appear to be serving any useful purpose.
This is a bit of shame, but I suppose I`m dealing with a very niche area, and there`s not likely to be a large amount of interest in such matters except from those who have studied the subject in depth. Speaking of which, I wanted to introduce yet another resource that I have found indispensable to my knowledge of premodern Japanese studies. Last year, Karikome Hitoshi, a lecturer at Shujitsu Daigaku in Okayama, published a book titled `Reading methods for classical and early modern Japanese documents and records` (古文書・古記録訓読法 吉川弘文館). Honestly, I wish I had this book while studying at Otani University all those years ago. In fact, this is precisely the sort of book that would have proven a godsend in helping me to acquire a much more rapid knowledge of premodern grammar as it applies to the medieval period.
The book gives numerous examples of how to read the unusual grammatical structures used by writers in the medieval period, as well as meanings behind certain common expressions and how they translate into modern Japanese. It also includes an extensive glossary giving details of other books like it that are aimed that improving the students knowledge of both cursive script and premodern grammar. This book is an absolute must for those interested in exploring premodern Japanese documents in greater detail, and I can`t recommend it highly enough. It`s also proving an inspiration in getting back to considering study of cursive script so that any premodern documents I might be interested in will be more legible to me than they were in the past.
So apart from grammatical issues and those of strategy in the region, 2016 appears to be a year of promise, but at the same time is a year that may bring with it instability and possible upset. I will do my best to record how it progresses, particularly as it applies to bilateral relations between Australia and Japan (and this year will be very monumental indeed on that front). So stick with me readers, things will get more interesting from here on!