Happy New Year!

An old chapter closes, a new chapter begins.
So what is it about a New Year? You may have celebrated too much, too little, or just right. It’s nice to start the new year with a holiday!
Nearly every culture marks the passage of time in a unique way, either by celebration, religious observation, communing with family and friends, or eating special foods. For example, it is the most important holiday on the Japanese calendar. The country, basically, shuts down for three days! 
Believe me, I can remember way back when — walking the streets around Tokyo’s Ginza at Midnight of the New Year and you could have rolled a bowling ball down the middle of the street and not hit anything for many blocks. I never saw the streets so deserted. Everyone was home with family and loved ones — or at a great party!
Shogatsu – New Yearsis a three-day event!

TokyoNewYearThis video clip shows some of the sayings and customs around the holiday. And there are many traditions surrounding the holiday – starting off with deep cleaning the house in time for midnight January 1st! But some traditions endure, such as eating a special food item, gifts of money, and the year’s first visit to a temple or shrine is in order as well.

I took some time off from Brave New Deadline. I retired from journalism – but not from observing the world around me. It’s interesting times, indeed

I’ll be back on a somewhat regular basis in 2019, sharing what I see.

And remember – comments always welcome.

Til next time….


All men are created equal


My concern about the events of this past weekend is it is only the beginning of something that this country must face. It some point in the future, there will be more non-whites than whites. More non-Christians than Christians. More non-Europeans than Europeans.
The behavior of the whites against the non-whites, the Christians against the non-Christians, and the Europeans against the non-Europeans, is deplorable.
f_la_kkk_rally_170708.nbcnews-ux-1080-600Some say turnabout is fair play. Perhaps it is. Perhaps that’s why these groups on the right, no matter what they’re called, are acting out their fear and anger. Maybe they should.
I believe all the lessons of the past will come to haunt this nation, if not doom it. It won’t be the end of a political or economic system that dooms this nation. It will be the failure of recognizing the truth in “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
All men. Life and liberty.
It’s not the “I deserve mine” that will doom the nation, but denying the other person the right to justifiably say as well, “I deserve mine” as well, and then working to make both declarations work.
The fear of losing what one has is greater than the anger at seeing what another gains. Fear propels the fearful whites, the fearful Christians, the fearful citizens of European descent.
So how do we take the fear away?

(Image, NBC News)

Joe Brewer is a journalist, author, parent, and veteran. He has worked at publications in Japan, Canada, and the United States. Brave New Deadline is a continuation of a newspaper column created in 1992. Email him at joe@josephmarkbrewer.com 

You’re not American. You’re a Nazi.

Unite the Right. Klan rally. Protest of a civic decision to remove the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

Call it what you want. The ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday, August 12, resulted in death, arrests, worldwide condemnation, counter-protests, and an ever-growing image of how ugly America has become. The far right,  the Ku Klux Klan, the defenders of the memory of the Confederacy, White Supremacists, all have found a home in the fetid atmosphere produced by the election of the 45th president.

Former KKK and Nazi leader David Duke said the Charlottesville protests were about ‘fulfilling the promises of Trump.’

‘”This represents a turning point for the people of this country,” Duke said of the Charlottesville rally. “We are determined to take our country back, we’re going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump, and that’s what we believed in, that’s why we voted for Donald Trump, because he said he’s going to take our country back and that’s what we gotta do.’

Take back the country. Make no mistake, that’s the mission of the White Nationalists, the Klan, the American Nazi.

There have been other protests, other demonstrations, with the purpose of defending the memory of the confederacy, defending the Confederate flag, some demanding that their Southern heritage be respected. An Anglo-Saxon Protestant heritage. A state’s rights heritage. A Jim Crow heritage.

Charlottesville was different. Not because the anti-Klan counter-protesters outnumbered the ‘Unite the Right’ group. Not because there were violent confrontations, tear gas, and arrests in demonstrations that lasted over two days. Not because public officials were once again forced to step up to microphones to condemn and demand justice.

It was different because of this:


And this


And this


and, ultimately, this


Klansmen assembled, with helmets and shields. Wielding Nazi salutes. Swastikas and Stars and Bars icons on display. A protest that spawned violence. And ultimately, a man reported to by a Nazi sympathizer, drove his car into the anti-Klan crowd, killing Heather Heyer, who was among the demonstrators protesting the white nationalists’ rally.

This is a turning point in the struggle against anti-American White Nationalism. There can be no mistaking that these white supremacists, whether they’re in the Klan or in Nazi garb, Confederate sympathizers or secessionists, stand for nothing that America was founded on. Nothing that the Constitution proclaims as rights and freedoms of the common person. Nothing that a free society cherishes for all its people. Their beliefs and goals and creeds and dogmas belong more to Mein Kampf than the Constitution. Thier leaders would be welcomed by Hitler. So let’s be clear: The people in helmets and shields and swastikas and hooded robes and stars and bars are Nazis. And they have lost the right to call themselves Americans. One world war was fought to destroy that evil. Everything Nazis stood for was crushed. It cannot be allowed to rise again.

Joe Brewer is a journalist, author, parent, and veteran. He has worked at publications in Japan, Canada, and the United States. Brave New Deadline is a continuation of a newspaper column created in 1992. Email him at joe@josephmarkbrewer.com 

(Photos credited)

The Electoral Count as it stands; buckle up for the final week, and if there’s a 269-269 tie…

Food for thought…


screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-9-14-53-amSee total electoral counts for each candidate below.The darker the red, the more certainty there is that the state will go for Trump. Over the coming week, pay close attention to polling in the light blue and pink states.

In putting this map together at RealClear Politics, I took into account a combination of multiple recent polls for each state, historical voting patterns and current trends for each candidate. Dark blue indicates solid support for Clinton; dark red for Trump. While this map still projects a Clinton victory on November 8, her margin is tenuous – 288 to 250. Under this model, while Clinton could afford to lose either Colorado or North Carolina, she could not afford to lose both. Pennsylvania remains, essentially, a must win.

Meanwhile, Trump’s path to victory has significantly improved in recent days. He would need to hold his leads in all the pink states (in…

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I Hate You

I’m returning to the origins of Brave New Deadline. It was a regular column I wrote for a weekly newspaper way back in the day. I had shifted gears somewhat, having focused on writing fiction for the last eight years, but the eternal struggle in my writing life – nonfiction vs fiction – never seems to settle. I still work in journalist, I still write fiction.

My other blog, josephmarkbrewer.wordpress.com, is where you’ll find posts from the writing world. Here at bravenewdeadline, I’m ending my sabbatical, and my silence, on current events. At least for the time being.


courtesy NBC news

In discussing this election year with my friend Jack Donaghy, I held out trying to describe it. The paint-by-numbers answers, the “Tastes great! Less filling!” chorus whenever Trump’s and Clinton’s names are mentioned, the woeful lack of civility – I really didn’t know what to say, much less write.

But it’s clear to me that this election is a harbinger. It has nothing to do with the Obama legacy. It has to do with a nation and its political process and the voters who participate it creating a new way of voicing their politics.

It’s the politics of hate.

I trace it to the first Clinton Administration and the vituperations hurled at the first lady, Hillary Clinton. The Lee Atwater legion joined forces with bareknuckles Arkansas political brawlers and the GOP, then licking their wounds after the sound Bush defeat and smarting from another election where it found itself the minority in the House of Representatives, flat out put a bull’s eye on Mrs. Clinton and said ‘fire away.’ This was 1993. Within two years, the Contract with American gained the House for the Republicans and Roger Ailes created Fox News in order to control the emerging reality of the 24-hour news cycle. Hate television was born. The Clintons were the targets. It’s become the norm.

The Obamas took the place of the Clintons for the last eight years, but with Mrs. Clinton’s hard-won success in securing the Democratic nomination, hate has followed her every step of the way.

What’s insidious about hate is it is almost never ground in facts or truth. Just not liking the cut of one’s jib has become a justification for hate.

The festering “I hate Hillary” disease is the what fuels the engine of the Trump campaign. At the presidential debate on Sunday in St. Louis, it became clear that even the gross cad that Trump is cannot help himself. His hatred was evident in these words: I’ll put her in jail.

Trump supporter cheered. Hillary haters blew up Twitter.

Worse has been said about Mrs. Clinton by Trump and others, but really, what rhetoric is left to abuse?  Trump supporters don’t even necessarily like the man, they just hate Clinton.

I hate you.

That is what 25 years of faux news hate has led to. And we’re stuck with it.


New directions in blogging

Over the past few months, I’ve taken a sabbatical from writing and blogging. My world was turned upside down as it were when a career lifeline was thrown my way.

newspapersI have been a journalist my entire working life – the part that starts after quitting college and part-time jobs. I enlisted in the Navy as a journalist, learned reporting and editing and photography and public affairs, and spent five years telling the Navy’s story. Then I graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in journalism. From that time on, I’ve worked for a variety of publications, and exclusively for newspapers since 1996.

Up until this past January, I worked at a newspaper that imploded due to strife between its publisher and the staff and a once-good newspaper is now a pokey little publication treated as an afterthought by the owners. I was watching my career die as a part of that news team.

But that ended with a new job in a new state with a company that read the tea leaves of today’s media economic realities and developed a plan to remain viable.

I’m back from sabbatical. One of the things I decided to do was split my journalism and my fiction writing into two blogs. So if you come to visit to know more about my Shig Sato mystery series, I have some blogs saved on here, but all the news stuff is at josephmarkbrewer.wordpress.com. That’s where the mysteries, flash fiction, and trials and travails of being an indie authorpreneur will reside.

Once upon a time I wrote a column for a newspaper called Brave New Deadline. I’m once again taking up that job: comments, criticism, essays, or whatever comes to mind.

My good friend Jim refers to me as a newsman and a mystery writer. May I live up to both honorable monikers.


The World of Shig Sato: Food in Japan

A reader discovering the world of Shig Sato will soon learn that food becomes in interesting side character – Miki’s breakfast of miso soup and rice, Abe’s early life growing up in a ramen shop, Ses Fujimori’s love of okonomiyaki, Shig’s lunchtime katsudon, even Mos Hishida’s nickname, a result of his steady diet of Japanese-style hamburgers. Any reader not familiar with Japanese cuisine might wonder at it all. In truth, the food of Japan is as simple as it is varied.

The simple: fish and rice. But is that really all there is? It doesn’t begin to encompass the world of sushi, much less the whole of Japanese cuisine. The popular Japan Talk website lists 100 types of sushi. Notice that fish, vegetables, eggs, meat – it’s all included. Sushi, sashimi, makiit can take minutes to prepare, a lifetime to master.sushi

The importance of rice in Japanese culture cannot be overstated. The language uses the word gohan for “meal” as well as “cooked rice.” Gohan is a part of each word signifying breakfast, lunch and supper. In feudal times, wealth was measured how much rice one possessed and peasants were keenly appreciative of a payment in rice for their labor – coins were no good to them when they had to eat. Japan’s propensity for natural disasters, and it’s involvement in war, often led to a scarcity of food. Rice stockpiles were worth fighting for.

As an nation comprised of many islands large and small, a reader would be right in thinking that all types of seafood is a part of the Japanese cuisine, from the common tuna to the exotic –  pufferfish, anyone?

What many Western readers of the Shig Sato series may not realize is that farming – livestock, grain, vegetable, fruit, any combination and variety – can be found in most of the nation’s 47 prefectures. Almost any grocery store or market will have fresh local produce, seasonal fruit, cuts of meat and poultry, and packaged foods like curry mixes and spices. (When my in-laws came to visit from Canada, flour and vanilla were found and donuts were produced in an afternoon!)

One may not think of baked goods when thinking of Japanese cuisine, yet the tasty sweets and snacks appeal to young and old. And it doesn’t take much to find pan – bread – and some have even embraced the staple, when it’s made with rice flour.bakedgoodies

The varied: Being an international city, Tokyo is home to an array of dining experiences any world traveler would appreciate. Michelin stars are not unknown in the city. Gourmets and foodies alike can find were the finest food is served, and also the stores that sell the products for those daring and talented enough to create at home.

Regional specialties abound. I’ll conclude with this list of a prefecture’s favorite dish. See if you don’t recognize some, and have probably eaten some others (and some not!).

Hokkaido – Grilled mutten

Aomori – Sea urchin and abalone

Miyagi – Oysters

Yamagata – Potato stewsweetpotatoes

Fukushima – Pickled herring

Ishikawa – Turnip sushi

Gifu – Potatoes with sweet chestnuts

Nagano – Buckwheat dumplings

Aichi – Deep fried chicken wings

Tochigi – Giyouza (potsticker) dumplings

Chiba – Steamed peanuts

Kanagawa – Curry

Mie – Lobster

Shiga – Duck hot pot

Osaka – Okonomiyaki

Hyogo – Kobe’s famous beer-fed beefkobebeef

Tottori – Snow crab

Tokushima – Buckwheat porridge

Nagasaki – Sasebo burger (thanks to the navy base there)

Kukamoto – Sliced horsemeat

Miyazaki – Kyushu-style fried chicken

Okinawa – Fried pork belly

To get a copy of  The Gangster’s Son click here . To get a copy of  Shig Sato Book 2 The Thief’s Mistake click here — and don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter and enter the World of Shig Sato.