It was on Thursday last week that I learned of the death of William Sakovich, a.k.a. Ampontan. The Saga-based polemicist died in December last year after only the briefest of hospitalizations.
Sakovich was a savage critic of both Japanese and non-Japanese media portrayals of political figures, political parties and the government. His long (very long) critiques of mistakes and prevailing tropes had a wide and devoted readership.
He and I saw eye-to-eye on no known topic. Everything I defended he loathed and vice versa.
Nevertheless it is hard to think I will never meet him in person.
His blog is still up. While his unforgiving political writings attracted readers while he was alive, my guess is that his idiosyncratic treasury of information on festivals (Link) will be his living monument.
Sakovich doubted much, but firmly believed in a bright future for Japan-South Korea relations. From his perch out in westernmost Japan, he saw more evidence of person-to-person exchange and warm feelings than those of us who make our homes in the country's East do.
With his passing, the circle of persons writing regularly on the daily affairs of this blessed land grows ever smaller.
Later - I look around finds Mr. Sakovich's death was reported on Japan Probe. I suppose this indicates I am now consecrating zero seconds per week to the online Japan uniqueness community.