The story goes that in 19th century Japan most people had only given names. Then, during the Meiji Restoration, an imperial edict went out: everyone must, by law, have a family name. What to do? All over the nation, peasants looked around and named themselves after pretty much the first thing they saw that they liked. Hence the preponderance among Japanese surnames of various kinds of rice field, tree, stream, bridge and mountain.
Why do I mention this? Because several years ago a particular blog post annoyed me so much that I wrote a long (way too long) rebuttal. But to post my comment I had to give a name and, for some reason that I really can’t remember, I didn’t want to write my own.
So, like those 19th century Japanese peasants, I looked around me and saw my cat who was busy trying to telepathically order me to stop being such a boring [insert your own epithet] and do something useful - like scratch his stomach. And so I called myself "cat". For the sake of consistency, I continued to use that name in all my subsequent blog comments.
And that is the only reason why this blog has the name that it does.
Now, I suppose, I should finally end that false anonymity - though for some reason I feel an enormous resistance against doing so. I say the anonymity has been false because I have always been identifiable to anyone who really wanted to know. I saw an old friend down in Hong Kong a couple of weeks ago and one of the first things she said was, "You’re ‘cat’, aren’t you".
My real name is Robert Farr. Where I work now is clear from the posts below.
I’d like to thank ESWN for generously giving me some readers on my first day. Thank you to Charlie, Chris and others who have offered kind words of encouragement. And if anyone tried to comment on the first day, but couldn’t, my apologies - the default security was set higher than I would have chosen myself.
This will never be a Big Blog. But I hope I will sometimes write some things that are of interest to a few. I’m sure I will annoy others as much as I was annoyed by that post that first made me choose a name.