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From the UK to Japan, ‘Them’s The Breaks’

Del Reino Unido a Japón, them’s the breaks

Available: Español

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“THEM’S THE BREAKS” is an unusual idiom for an Eton-educated politician such as Boris Johnson. The polemic PM chose nonetheless to include the phrase in his equally original resignation speech. “I want you to know how sad I am to be giving up the best job in the world, but them’s the breaks,” Johnson concluded. 

“Them’s the breaks” means “that’s the way things are” or “that’s life” and this now-famous British idiom could easily summarize the last 48 hours worldwide. Former Japanese Shinzō Abe was shot dead at a political campaign event in the City of Nara. Abe, who had stepped down as the island’s PM back in 2020, remained as influential as controversial.

The gunman, a 41-year-old man, made no attempt to escape and attacked the political leader with an allegedly handmade weapon (Japan has strict gun-ownership regulations). Tetsuya Yamagami, the suspect, is believed to have been a member of Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force.

Johnson is without a doubt eccentric and a divisive figure, but he’s undeniably charismatic and has an unquestionable inch of genius. Shinzō Abe, with all his flaws, built modern Japan, and was probably the most relevant post-war politician on the island.

The world has lost, rather differently, two powerful leaders that shaped their nations and the dynamics of the world. 

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What can I say, then? Them’s the breaks.


This article originally appeared in El American’s newsletter on July 9, 2022. Subscribe for free here!

Pris Guinovart is a writer, editor and teacher. In 2014, she published her fiction book «The head of God» (Rumbo, Montevideo). She speaks six languages. Columnist since the age of 19, she has written for media in Latin America and the United States // Pris Guinovart es escritora, editora y docente. En 2014, publicó su libro de ficciones «La cabeza de Dios» (Rumbo, Montevideo). Habla seis idiomas. Columnista desde los 19 años, ha escrito para medios de America Latina y Estados Unidos

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