Haiku reflections on Japan, International or other matters

Take it easy Abe PM

Abe giving me

the creeps with his bowing down

To the white house creep


So, Shinzo Abe is creating jobs now for Americans.  How good of him.  He seems to be really bending over backwards to show how solicitous he is.  Shouldn’t he focus on creating jobs for Japanese, especially Japanese women who he should be bringing into the work place with steadier jobs or back into the work place after pregnancy or other reasons for having to temporarily leave?  I find it worrying how he bows down to this creep.    I know he needs outside help what with North Korea’s most recent action but it need not be America (how about NATO which Trump dislikes) and it makes me cringe. Meanwhile, Trump’s bromance with Putin is said to be cooling down. Maybe Abe wants to replace him. Anyway, he almost puts me off wanting to go to Japan for another thing.

Another person I don’t have much respect for is our own PM who is under fire here at home over internal affairs but also under fire over the annual St. Patrick’s day trip to the White House where a bowl of shamrock is always presented to the POTUS.  I hate this tradition anyway as it reeks of what is called shamroigery (shamroig is Irish for shamrock as you can guess, so shamroigery is overstating nonsensical supposedly Irish symbols  – if would be paddywhackery if Ireland were being obliged to do it by the US and they didn’t want to though maybe that is also the case as they can’t seem to get out of doing it year after year!!).  This is the case especially as the Irish government leader takes part in it.  I don’t care who the POTUS is.  Mr Orangina or his predecessors (with Irish links or not).  He says he is going over to take care of the status of illegal Irish immigrants and says he intends to call out the man on his foreign policies – which I don’t think he will have the nerve to do – but this would be a great excuse to stop the stupid, cringe-worthy shamrock tradition once and for all.   It might seem trivial to complain about this but even though this is an act of friendship to the people of America not just the president, and America still welcomes the friendship of other countries especially now I’m sure, Trump should not be treated the same as previous presidents and it is still nonsense to give something which has no real meaning (and which I’m guessing most Americans don’t give a stuff about). I mean, why doesn’t he just wear a leprechaun’s top hat while he’s at it?  Well, they could ‘accidentally’ drop the bowl of shamrock on his head if they must bring it over at all. Another thing which makes me cringe about my turf though I am generally not unhappy to be the nationality I am.

OK, he has already called the guy racist and dangerous during the elections which is not obsequious like Abe’s announcements (who has also said that America’s internal policy is America’s business – no coincidence there – but it’s foreign policy all this wall business and keeping out people from those 7 countries no matter how temporarily) but he did that from the safety of this side of the Atlantic and then tried to back pedal on that almost immediately after Trump was elected.  He makes me sick to my stomach as does Abe.  It seems to me that Abe has strong right-wing tendencies so I can see why he gets on so well with Trump but our guy shares Trump’s arrogance (though thankfully not misogyny or racism from what I can see).  He might soon be out the door anyway for his actions over this side of the water.  With any luck Trump’s reign will not last as long.


Haiku reflections on Japan, International or other matters

Amour et paix

Hiroshima mon

Amour’s vibrant light did shine

to a good old age


Emmanuèle Riva, the French star of Hiroshima mon Amour (1959, Alain Resnais), has passed away at the age of 89.  While she has been in more recent films, and theatre also, the only other film I have seen her in was Amour (2012), where she played an elderly woman in physical and mental decline who is cared for by her devoted husband.  Her role earned her an Oscar nomination at the age of 85, the oldest to date for an actress. Jean-Louis Trignant and Isabelle Hubbert co-starred in that film as her husband and daughter and both were also excellent.  I remember that film as one of the most moving films I’ve ever seen.

Hiroshima Mon Amour, with Eiji Okada playing her lover, as I’ve mentioned here before, was excellent and in a time of increasing nuclear danger around the world, it’s timely to remember it again.

Speaking of World War II, I happen to have recently seen The Wind Rises, a studio Ghibli animated film about the man who built the spitfire plane for the Japanese military in World War II.  The version shown that I had recorded was dubbed in English and so one day I set down to watch it.  It cut off prematurely just a half hour away from the end of the film which was really annoying but just by pure chance, the same channel showed it again just last week, this time in Japanese with English subtitles (as I prefer to watch it) so I recorded it again.  I’m hoping to watch it right through this time.   I must say I had presumed the character to be an unpleasant militaristic nationalist but he is portrayed as a very normal fair man who just happened to have been hired to build this plane as he was renowned for his engineering know-how.    I’ll sit down and watch it again in a while.

A documentary shown on the same channel about the Ghibli production studio also aired last night but I recorded it as it was on too late (more the early morning than the night – why? Who knows).   It refers specifically to The Wind Rises and another animated film of Ghibli’s, so who knows we might find out more about this character.

Things are pretty heated over in the US at the moment with nationalism of a different type and an equally scary type to that in Germany and Japan in World War II.   Actually, even scarier considering how much the free world is supposed to have moved on.   Trump must not be allowed get away with this ban, mainly directed at seven particular muslim-majority countries,  even if he does have republican control of the White House.   It’s crazy over there and very frightening undoubtedly for the immigrants trying to get into the country and for all legal and illegal immigrants of any nationality already over there.  Bravo to the various city leaders and others who have defied his ban thus far, but there is a lot more to be done.

Haiku reflections on Japan

Spring cleaning is a

great mind cleanser ahead of

another new year


So I haven’t made it to the cinema yet to see Silence but apparently it’s 3 hours long and, much as I like the book it’s based on, which I’ve recently re-read, I don’t know if a 3 hour film about faith is what I’m looking for.  It’s quite a deep topic but 3 hours is almost too much.  Well, I’ll see.

2017 resolutions anyone?   I have started by sticking to a plan to cull more items from my space.  Actually I started before the new year so I wouldn’t change my mind but I finished up yesterday.  So college notes have mostly (bar some interesting items I foresee needing) been sent to the (recycling) bin.  They’re really the only things I was humming and hawing about.   I have some language learning textbooks from my college days and evening language lessons which I’m trying to get rid of. Ones I am truly finished with.

I’ve mentioned Marie Kondo before.  Well, I hadn’t actually seen her book in any shop until just before Christmas.   I’m sure it was there all along.  I just wasn’t looking for it.  And nor was I this time.  It was just because of the holiday season and coming up to the new year that the particular shop had it displayed where people might easily find it for their new year spring clean/cull.   I had a quick flick through it, just so I can say I did. Another book beside it was more specifically related to culling your wardrobe only.  Now that I have a handle on.    I still think Marie Kondo is a bit too anal for my liking and while I agree that some things can bring you ‘joy’ which I suppose she says to make herself sound a bit less clinical, they are still only material objects.  I’m not going to go in to a lecture about that but it is true that experiences are more valuable and are what you remember more.  Ok, reading a good book can be an experience as can watching a great film but for me nothing beats travel, either to somewhere totally new (which I aim to do this year whether or not I also make it back to Japan) or returning to a place you liked.  I was thinking maybe I’d go to a Baltic country this time.  One out of maybe Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania. I hope they’re cheaper than Scandinavia which they face across the Baltic sea.

What are your views on spring clean/culling of unwanted or unnecessary things in your house/apartment or wherever you live? Do you go gung-ho on your place? I don’t like clutter but I hate clinical looking empty living spaces at the same time so a good balance can be achieved by having what you want to keep, after your culling session, at reach in nice storage units is a happy medium I think.

Regarding other resolutions/goals/aims though, mine are mostly people-related.  It sounds harsh but people-culling if you like.  Those who don’t add anything to your life or might be nice (enough) but don’t make any effort.  Or people who just put you down, or try their hardest to, for their own sad reasons.  Unfortunately, for some, these people can originate from their own family so it’s harder to ignore them (but contact can be minimised nonetheless!!).  I managed to achieve this to some degree in 2016 and plan to keep it up.  On the other hand, the stress you have to take from people who don’t react well to being avoided almost cancels it out!  Keeping myself fit and healthy, in terms of mind and body, is another resolution I think I can stick to, which should assist me in all that.

Well, good luck with your new year resolutions whatever they may be. If you’re thinking of travel, and can afford it, go ahead.  Life is too short to worry about threats from certain sources.  As for Japanese learning, stick at it and learn from different sources.  And if you plan to cull then have fun getting rid of your stuff (and then buying more haha…).