Monday, April 03, 2006

Trevor thinks he may be allergic to Japan. Everytime we come here, he gets a nasty sore throat. Last time, we thought it was our friend's new house -- there is an ailment with respiratory symptoms called "New House Sickness" here because of the toxic glues they use to put the houses together. Nice. But the ryokan we are staying in is at least a few years old, and we aren't using the air conditioner or heater at all. So we don't know what it is but to chalk it up to a violent reaction to Nihon.

It isn't helping him that you can smoke in every nook and cranny in Japan -- even in the hallways in the mall. And Japanese cigarettes have so much tar, it's insane. Poor monkey.

As I'm sitting outside tight now to gank someone's wireless, I have to say I am so weirded out by the proliferation of the van mounted loudspeaker in Japan. There are vans that are allowed to drive around on the little one-car-width, alley sized streets blasting advertisements from their loudspeakers mounted on the roofs, all day long. I always giggle because the only difference between those vans and the nationalist vans that do the same thing is that the nationalists have anti-gaijin propoganda written on the outside and thier vans are painted black rather than cheery pastel colors and usually have surly looking Mama's basement dwellers and sad looking middle-aged men behind the wheel rather than fleshy faced smiling salesmen. Woe betide the gaijin who mistakes the two! *LOL* Actually, I think most of those nationalists have never spoken to a gaijin, so they would probably freak out in that "I can't see you, lala" type of way that many shy Japanese men do (and it does seem a large proportion of those nationalists are men).

I can't claim to know the nationalist movement inside out, but my conclusion is that its a boy's club -- something to make insecure men who feel crushed by their wives' love of the Korean soap opera and their kids' fascination with Western pop feel better about themselves and give them a place to drink sake and bitch and moan, while talking themselves into thinking they are true Mishima-like patriots who are saving Japan from the blue-eyed devils.

Whoa, I guess that's a lot of conjecture for someone who doesn't claim to know anything now, isn't it?

I guess I just feel like I've seen it before, just like in the States where there are people who feel so powerless in their own lives and are either trapped or are so afraid to make the necessary changes to not be trapped that they have to scapegoat that which is different than them, because god forbid you take responsibility for your own personal hell or misery. And I hate the nationalist movement using Mishima as a trump card all the time. Mishima didn't hate gaijin or think Japan was being crushed under the stifling foot of the West. He loved Japan, the Japan that was redolent with structured harmony, or wa, and saw it going to pieces with the Western influx. This is an oversimplification, but time constraints on my wifi connection and my need for some hot rice and natto is making this a conversation for another day! In short, granted, I do think he was a little inflexible about Japan's social modernization, but Mishima was not a gaijin hater. His ideas were a lot more complex than plain old Japanese redneck mentalities. And dude, I'd like to see any of those nationalists commit seppuku for their ideals. Please.


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