On 9/11: Fifteen Years Later

This post represents solely the thoughts of Morgane and does not represent the rest of her team. To our Asian readers, my apologies. Treat this as an exercise in English comprehension? 😉

At first, I thought I might have done a piece on it. Then I thought seriously and decided against it. 9/11 has yet to happen in Pacific’s world. With any luck, it might not occur at all.

But it is wishful thinking to butterfly something like this away or put it away in the real world. To say that 9/11 is the Pearl Harbor of our day is an understatement. I was a very tiny little girl when it happened, and the memories of those events would last for a long time.

No, I am not as crass as to say I remember the (adjective) (adjective) (negative emotions), nor would I say I understand – as I entered high school – what the changes in my country was at the time. What I will tell you is one thing. I felt unnerved, as if something was wrong.

More specifically, I felt a very weird sense of unease – mostly because the grown-ups around me was reacting in a way that I never ever saw them. My great uncle can stare bears down the face and haul bombs and torpedoes and load ’em onto fighter-bombers (yes, that same one I keep on talking about) and he was shaken. Not afraid. Not fearful. More like angry.

Then as I grew up, I realized bit by bit that something I thought we’ve always had, is gone. Confidence.

People aren’t confident of America and what she stands for anymore. That’s part of the decline and the malaise I was talking about in the 2016 miniseries. It’s as if we’ve lost our way and lost our ability to focus on things that matter. Rather than facing the truth and getting to the bottom of the matter, we’ve let self-interest and partisanship get in the way. Our unity was a thing that was laughably transient – within a few months we were right back at where we started, but worse, because now we’re pitting minority interest against minority interest. Under the guise of utilitarianism and noble pursuit we’ve done just the opposite.

Take a look at around you now. Life might be good for you, but I can assure you, just based on some simple numbers, I can bet you that half of the tens of thousands of American readers on this website isn’t. Wages have stagnated. A few has gotten richer, but most people I know are struggling to just get by. Roughly two thirds of my classmates who graduated from college are back at home now, barely squeezing out a living.

What does all of this have to with 9/11? Because 9/11, were I to pin down to one event that begun our slow and current decline, would be it. 9/11 is one of the most heinous (and I remember lightly mocking W over his way of pronouncing that term) events that has happened in our history. It is not only a terror attack, but now – thanks to some recently unveiled information – I see it as a terror attack and a betrayal and a confirmation all at the same time.

The House just passed a law called the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act. If Obama doesn’t veto it in ten days (which I have serious doubts based on what the White House has said), this will give the victims of 9/11 a route to pursue legal justice – by bringing Saudi Arabia, a U.S. ally, into court. For years and years we’ve laughed and dismissed the possibility of this as a mere conspiracy – how could you even think like that? It’s 20XX.

Now? No one’s laughing.

American power is declining. Like it or not, we’re experiencing now one of the most turbulent years of our time. I am not old to say that it has colored my perception just yet – I fall squarely under that 20-29 demographic – but looking back, I think it is important to frame just how important that event was in the scheme of the last fifteen years.

To me, 9/11 was the last time where our country displayed – for a fraction of a second – genuine unity. Whether people were exploiting the event for their own gain or genuinely trying to help is irrelevant. The appearance was there, and the United States of America (emphasis on United) was well, exactly what it said on the tin.

To me, 9/11 contributed so much to our national identity that it deserve to be remembered. In essence, it provided the foundation to two things that will shape this country for years to come: a simmering resentment that we could, should, and perhaps would eventually do something about our problems, and a (often corrupted) desire to maximize good by taking a moral high ground and assuming that our values are superior to everything else.

The first got us into a lot of war and created a lot of hare-brained policies, and the second is directly tied to the rise of political correctness in our country today. If asked, I honestly can’t tell you which one’s worse. We never follow through with any of the things we want to do, and nowadays you can’t even discuss Islam in anything less than a positive light without having the label of Islamophobic slapped onto your face. We are lucky in this regard – at least we aren’t England or France or Germany, and the First Amendment is still drawing haggard breath.

Mourning will do nothing to bring those people we lost, our national unity, or our confidence, back. Anger offers an emotional outlet and perhaps a few convenient boogeymen, but I fail to see how it will bring us solutions to the issues that we face today. And so, I spend today neither in mourning nor in anger, but largely in quiet contemplation.

For fifteen long years many have asked why it happened and what we can do to make it not happen again, but on something like this, I deal neither with the unalterable past nor the unpredictable future. What I am focused on is what I can do in the present day. America will not fix itself on its own, and I don’t expect other people to come fix it for us. So who’s left? Us, of course. Whatever you end up contributing, be it money, time, or effort, the job’s ours.

I’m going to conclude by citing – thanks to an avid reader’s reminder – someone else in my stead. The source of the quote is typically attributed to Teddy Roosevelt.

It is but an idle waste of time to celebrate the memory of the dead unless we, the living, in our lives strive to show ourselves not unworthy of them.

Here’s to 9/11.

(Historical Inspirations) On soft drinks – 历史灵感:饮料篇

(Quick note: we have a English-Chinese translator on board now. 🙂 Thank you Ethan for the Chinese translation.)

What’s that you’ve got there, Yamato?


Wanna try? It’s not Ramune, if that’s what you’re thinking.


*sip* Lemony.


Mhm-hmm. Japan’s first and – if I may add – finest soft drink. Come on, dear, do you really think I’d give you something so common as any old 150 yen vendor-ware?


Aw, that’s so nice! I bet you made this, right?


Mhm-hmm! As much as I hate conforming to “historical” expectations (ugh, I bet if they had their way we’d all be perfect caricatures and I wouldn’t be allowed to drink anything other than lemonade), I am rather fond of these little bottles. They are infinitely reusable, and you have the freedom to bottle anything that you want. Too bad this one isn’t exactly as historical as I would have liked it. In that sense I confess, yes, I am an occasional hypocrite.  


Hey, Yamato, I bet you know what?


What, dear?


I bet you that nobody reading this article right now is looking at the soda bottle when there’s the two of us in cute swimsuits right there on the page.


Mo! No fourth wall breaking until she says so! Quick, strut a bit and uh… look sexy. Morgane wanted a historical article and we need to get this back on track!




As much as I love writing about Pacific and its alternative world, I’m almost always mindful of the fact that well, I got into all of this because I’m really fond of history. If there’s one thing KanColle managed to get right, it’s the fact that yes, game really can get people interested in things that are more than just cute girls doing cute things.


As the creator, though, I feel like I’m always trying to strike an unusual balance. On one hand, I don’t want to just regurgitate historical tidbits. On the other hand, a lot of the historical tidbits are very interesting and deserves to be mentioned (in part because I don’t see people do that). So while I’m trying to figure out how to write these things, one thing is certain: it’s really fun digging into details and thinking about how I can craft something so that each line contributes to the development and impression of one of our girls.


The particular soft drink that Yamato is speaking of is Mitsuya Cider. Sune and I thought hard about crafting this part of her character, and we thought it made more sense for our Yammy be someone who’s not only keenly aware of her “roots” as a Japanese shipgirl, but also someone who is fiercely proud of her cultural heritage. Going through the groceries that Sune brings home on a regular basis for instance, and you’ll find a lot of “parenthesis: made in Japan” or “parenthesis: sourced in Japan”. It’s from this perspective that we settled on Mitsuya Cider. It makes sense – you’ll see why in a bit, and I think it provides a really good glimpse into history.


We’ve established in Pacific that while the shipgirl’s personalities and characters are fully autonomous from their “historical counterparts,” they will retain memories, experiences, or knowledge that are directly or indirectly connected with their identity. As such, what Yamato would be aware of is the extraordinary rapid change in Japanese dietary habits prior to the Meiji restoration and leading all the way up to the war. She would certainly know, and thereby have a taste for things such as beer and soda – both of which were symbols of industrialization (and to a lesser extent Westernization) and of course, luxury at the time.


The earliest advent of Japanese soft drinks, then, can largely be traced to Japan’s burgeoning beer industry. The limiting factor at the time for soft drink companies weren’t necessarily the lack of market – western drinks such as coca-cola has been positively received since the end of World War I – but rather the difficulties in producing containers that would have been appropriate. Just as the first commercial brewers for beer appeared around the 1870s, Japan’s glass manufacturing rose alongside it. By 1906, three of the largest Japanese brewery and drink companies merged into the Dai Nippon Beer Company, and it paved the way towards many of the standardization capabilities that would enable the production of an entire category of carbonated soft drinks the Japanese refer to as “Cider” (サイダー)


Unlike ciders as we would understand it, the Japanese cider is closer to a mixture between sprite and 7-up. These ciders, including Mitsuya, were colorless and transparent. Almost all of them had a lemon-lime taste to it. Now, I’m not a real historian, but we dug a little bit into what Ramune is supposed to be, and the term is a literal transliteration of the English word “lemonade.” A cursory glance into historical and period-appropriate documents show that unlike Mitsuya Cider, which had a defined brand and a defined recipe, “Ramune” was a catch-all term used to describe these type of drinks. Anything that had sugars and had a sour/lemony taste to it can be rightfully called “Ramune.” Thus, it is no wonder that many IJN vessels had the ability to produce such soft drinks. This was a period of time where such sweet treats were luxuries, and so long as you had an adequate batch of starting materials (sugar or lower grade syrups, lemon juice or various acids), you would certainly have been able to enjoy Ramune on board a ship.


This is what a “Ramune” type drink would have looked like during WW2. This is a bottle taken from Mutsu, and as you can see, it does not have any brands or markings associated with it. The bottles are plain, and it is likely that the taste and flavor would have differed slightly from batch to batch. Nonetheless, any ship that had the ability to carbonate the drink mixture would have been able to make this. (Whether or not there would have been enough for everyone, on the other hand, would be a very tough question to answer. Evidence – what scattered bits we can find – seems to suggest that soft drinks were stolen almost as often as alcohol on IJN ships)


Mitusya Cider, on the other hand, was created as a bona-fide soft drink by a company named Teikoku Kosen. It was Japan’s most popular branded soft drink at the time, and prior to their merger with Dai Nippon in 1933 (and thereby becoming the largest soft-drink producer in wartime Japan), you can already see that it commanded significant segments of the market.


Think about this for a second. A soft-drink company can squeeze itself into Japan’s top 200 industrial firms (rank 108 to 117), in an era where giant corporate-conglomerates (the Zaibatsu) was in full command of the Japanese economy. Is it any wonder that Yamato might be interested in that particular drink, either because she’s remembering it fondly, or perhaps she simply enjoys the taste?


(The picture on the left is a picture of what the Mitsuya Cider production facility looked like – and the machinery it used to make these sodas. The picture on the right is what Mitsuya Cider would have came in – in either green or olive bottles, with the Mitsuya logo emblazoned on the bottle itself. Clearly, as you can see, it does not look anything close to the marble bottles that Ramune as we know it today would come in.)


Now, you only know that Yamato “made” it herself. Did she bottle the Mitsuya Cider herself in a Ramune (marble soda) bottle? After all, it isn’t entirely inconceivable that a shipgirl like her might be living in a place where soda dispensers are available. Did she make the Mitsuya Cider from scratch, trekking to Hirano (平野) – the origin of Mitsuya Cider, where a river of her namesake also happens to run through the prefecture – to gather the materials herself?


That, I think, you’re going to have to ask her. 🙂 Now let’s take a look at the other thing of interest. What’s in Mo’s hand is probably one of the most recognizable things of Americana in the world today: the Coca-Cola.


There’s a lot of stuff that’s known about Coca-Cola already. In fact, in some parts of America (not where I’m from, of course), a “coke” is synonymous with any kind of carbonated soft drink. There are few things that influenced American culture the way Coca-Cola did, but here, I’m going to talk specifically about how it differed from what Yamato’s having.


For starters, while soft drinks were comparatively luxurious (an IJN sailor with frequent access to it would be unlikely to see it nearly as often if he was a civilian) in Japan, the Coca-Cola was widely affordable and drank in gigantic quantities by just about everyone. The Coca-Cola was 5 cents per 6.5oz serving. At a time where other fountain drinks hovered around seven or eight cents, this was not only affordable, but it was something that made Coca-Cola unique. For nearly seventy years or so, anyone could get a coke for just a nickel. This was a policy that endured throughout two world wars and the great depression, and the vintage advertisement shown below is just one of the many examples that contributed to Coca-Cola’s success.


Of course, when America went to war, Coca-Cola followed. To say that it was popular was again, an understatement. Always masters of advertising, Coca-Cola was more than just a delicious drink. It was also a morale booster, and a reminder to the millions of men on the frontlines of what home was. For the record, they definitely weren’t shying away from using cute girls to get their message across!


Yes, no matter where America went, Coca-Cola followed. Cynics may very well point out that Coca-Cola saw a huge business opportunity, and they are certainly not wrong in that regard – it was one of the few American companies that not only did business in Nazi Germany, but actually thrived in it as well. We can discuss the ethics in another post, but what I’d like to highlight is the impressive way in which Coca-Cola was associated with America. Soldiers frequently remarked on how Coca-Cola reminded them of home. Look at the Coca-Cola ads from the time, think about how it has been a part of American life and culture for decades even prior to the war, and you’ll quickly understand why Coca-Cola was an important morale booster for troops fighting on the front lines.


This is an example of a letter in 1918, requesting for more Coca Cola from the US Army.

这是1918年很有代表性的军队来信,信中请求美国陆军供应更多的可口可乐。(其中下划线部分就是著名的热与渴之敌,这正是写信者对他上述请求的解释 🙂

Here’s an example from the Navy – thank our translator for translating that. 🙂


From naval officers of FTC Dam Neck (the source from which the previous passage came from) to fountains on US navy ships, Coca-Cola was ubiquitously popular in World War 2 as well.  Though, again, unlike the IJN, the US had plenty of supplies to spare. Recollection from my great uncle who served on an aircraft carrier during WW2 mentions that he remember having both bottled Coca-Cola and “fountain” cokes, the latter of which he could have as much as the mess paid for and the former were readily available in the ship’s canteen.


So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t think Mo needs any particular reason to like Coca-Cola. In fact, it would be a little stranger if she didn’t. 🙂

所以,我猜我想说的是,密她喜欢可乐不需要什么特别的理由。实际上,她不喜欢可乐才奇怪呢  🙂

Alright, I think that’s enough words for today. See you guys next time.


Independence Day

For a lot of folks today, the 4th of July is really a day of celebration. It’s a day of fireworks and BBQ and family and friends and (for most of us) a respite from our daily grind.

I myself will be relaxing as well, but I want to talk a little about what exactly makes this particular day special for me. For lack of a better term, I see today as a celebration of the principle of sovereignty. It’s America’s birthday, of course, but at the same time? It’s also a celebration of the fact that us former colonials decided, on this day, to rule and govern ourselves.

Even though we’d be breaking away from one of the greatest powers of its time, my ancestors took a look at the odds and decided that it was worth it to try to make sure that we’re able to make our own laws and be responsible for our own actions.

Why is sovereignty important? Well, to explain the obvious, I think it is obvious that we need government. Society needs structure for it to function, and government is the best way to provide that structure in our lives. Given that by nature a government need to well, govern, I think to be governed by one’s own people is the best way to go about things. No matter how benevolent and well meaning an outsider’s intervention may be, I think it is best that individual peoples govern themselves. It’s simple logic. Nothing fancy, and nothing extra special.

It is from this position of sovereignty that I now write Pacific’s America. Readers of Action Reports, our forums, or those that follow our work closely will have noticed many things about how Pacific’s America is a lot less interventionist. This is not an accident. While I’m not going to say too much about who’s president in our timeline (hint: Ike’s definitely still around), what is important is that America is far less willing to intercede and intervene in the world’s affairs. Perhaps the Abyssals and what they do really struck a cord with those that sit in positions of power in America. Perhaps it is simply due to random chance that America decides to be more “isolationist.” Perhaps it is because a far less aggressive Soviet Union is also playing a role in maintaining world stability. Or perhaps it is because Britain did not fade as it did in real life.

Whatever it may be, Pacific’s world is a lot less tense than the equivalent times of our world today. As you will learn, there are instances in this world where – in hindsight – America should have done something. What happened in East Asia in the 80s is an excellent example of that. But above all else is perhaps America’s image around the world in Pacific. Consider how other countries would view America if it wasn’t busy poking into other countries’ affairs. Consider how much more attractive democratic values would be if it’s not forced onto peoples that hold a different view. Consider all this, and consider the value of national sovereignty, and you now understand a little more about how America is turning out.

Make no mistake. The spirit of the 4th of July is alive and well. America is different in Pacific, yes, but that difference isn’t so different as to make her alien. She may not be as active as around the world as she might be today, but she still stands for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. A less interventionist America could only result in greater conviction in the righteousness of her cause, saved for those instances where intervention is absolutely necessary.

The history of free men is never really written by chance. No. It is, and always has been, written by choice. It just so happens that the same choice that resulted in July 4th, 1776 is now writing her next chapter.

Memorial Day

530 Missing Man Table 长图F1080p

Coming out of a tradition that’s been around since the Vietnam War, this small table in the dining area is always set, but never occupied. The empty space is a symbol of  Americans who are missing, and its presence is a reminder that they are with us here in spirit.

Every ceremony’s a little different. Here’s how I remembered it back home.

The table is round, to show that our concern for them is enduring.

The tablecloth on the table is white, to show the purity of their intent in responding to our country’s call to arms.

Inside the vase, the single red rose is a symbol of the life that belongs to each of the missing and signifies the blood that many have shed in sacrifice to ensure freedom for all of us. The red ribbon around it represents their love for our country, which inspired them to answer her call.

The Bible is a symbol of the faith in a higher power and the pledge to our country.

The black napkin is a symbol of the emptiness left by those missing in the hearts of families and friends.

The upturned wine glass is a reminder that those missing can no longer share a toast with us here today.

The slices of lemon on the plate is a reminder of the bitterness of their fate.

The salt on the plate represents the tears endured by those who are missing, and their families who seek closure.

A yellow ribbon is tied around the candle holder. It, and the yellow candle, symbolizes an everlasting hope. It represents hope that someday the missing will return to us.

For now, the chair is empty, to show that they are not here.

This ceremony is solemn. It always is, and it should be treated with the dignity it deserves. But as you take a moment to reflect and honor those who are missing, I would like to ask you to do one more thing.

Consider why these brave men and women answered the call in the first place.

Consider why they served, and what this means for you.

Do not render their sacrifice meaningless by wasting your life. Remember, but more importantly, live.