Sad to hear that yet
another earthquake has hit
Nepal – done yet…
… Mother nature? How awful that Nepal has suffered another earthquake barely 2 weeks after the first one in which 8,000 people died with many more injured. It seems that it is proving difficult for aid to get through from the last one as well, not just in a logistic sense but in possible government corruption. Fitting how then for this earthquake, videos were shown of politicians fleeing the Nepalese parliament which was in session when this second one hit. It’s like both mother nature and the media has a message for certain people. In any case, I really hope Nepal overcomes this in spite of its limited resources. 頑張って！！
This brings me to Japan and how I wish I could help out more when something bad happens there. Giving money is fine but it would be nice to be more involved. Perhaps in translation work but my Japanese is not really up to that level just yet. I’ll just have to work on that won’t I!! There is an interesting group called Translate for Fukushima and I’m sure there are many more similar groups. However, I hope Japan does not have to suffer another disaster like that ever again. Mount Hakone has been showing signs of creating (more) trouble lately. I hope nothing comes of that.
I’m so glad I live in a country which has no such natural disasters although, as I have read, if that volcano on Tenerife ever erupted and sent waves towards us my whole country here in the North Atlantic, no bigger than Hokkaido in the north of Japan, would be wiped out and the eastern seaboard of the US would be destroyed also. Mother Nature is merciless.
Postscript: An earthquake has hit the northeast of Japan in fact but thankfully no serious damage or deaths have been reported. I only heard of this after posting this particular post.
Add comment May 13, 2015 KorubettosHaiku
protecting village farmers
beset by bandits
I finally got around to watching the Seven Samurai. Right I know. How could I have waited so long? Over 3 hours long but worth every second. I can finally add it to my list of films over on the film page (I only add them once I have actually watched them). I`d love to see Ikiru which stars Takashi Shimura, the leader of the group of samurai protecting the village in The Seven Samurai but have yet to find it online. It is on YT but it`s one of those cases where the person who posted the film instructs you to click on a link in the description of the film and I find that a bit suspicious. I prefer straightforward ways of viewing films on YT. Click on the film you like and up it comes straight away. Otherwise I won`t bother no matter how much I want to see it. Takashi Shimura also has a role in another of Akira Kurosawa`s famous pics – Rashomon. As does another of the samurai group who plays the jovial `woodcutter` samurai in the Seven Samurai but the priest in Rashomon. And of course Toshiro Mifune stars in both the Seven Samurai and Rashamon as well (and other films by AK). He and Shimura were Kurosawa`s two regular male stars. Mifune ultimately fell out with Kurosawa (basically over the contractual obligations of having to grow and maintain a beard for his role in Red Beard, another one I want to see, but no doubt there was something more to it than that, could be they were just sick of each other!!)
I also watched a film from 2001 by Shohei Imamura who directed the Eel (うなぎ) with Koji Yakusho. He also stars in this one and I am pretty sure the female lead stars in the Eel as well but I can`t remember. It`s a very, ahem, unusual film shall we say but it has a similar plot in Koji Yakusho`s down on his luck character finding a new life for himself – this time when he goes to seek a treasure a tramp tells him about and finds you could say a different treasure, in this new life and the woman he ends up meeting and sharing it with. In The Eel as we know he comes out of prison and starts a new life as a barber. Both films have a surreal element to them.
Going back further in time, I watched yet another Yasujiro Ozu film The Flavour of Green Tea over rice (お茶漬けの味) where a young woman seeing how unhappy her aunt is with her marriage, refuses to attend arranged marriage meetings and would prefer to meet a man of her own choice. The aunt is unhappy with her husband who she thinks dull when all he wants is to be allowed to appreciate the simple things in life like green tea poured over rice. They eventually make up after a tiff and bond over this. Interesting thing I read about this film is that, Ozu was initially planning the film during the days of the might of the Japanese military who tried to make Uzo change the title of the film to mention red rice (Rice mixed with red beans) to promote their military power abroad and especially in China. Ozu put the project aside for a while and eventually made it with the title he wanted, and it came out in 1952, well after the war. Interesting that red rice is what was also traditionally given to young women having their period for the first time and so becoming a woman. Ozu also had his regular actors as I have mentioned before and Ryu Chizu appears in this two years earlier to his old man role in Tokyo Story. His character reminisces back to the time he was in the army in Singapore (with the Uncle) so the military by chance gets a mention anyway. But in those days men of that character`s age were probably nostalgic about being in the war so there was not much wrong in one of his characters reminiscing about it. Anyway, the young man who the niece befriends and, it appears, gets together with (a younger friend of her green-tea-over-rice fan of an uncle) looked really familiar to me I thought but I had not seen him in any of Ozu`s other films or any others, an actor by the name of Koji Tsuruta. Then I realized he looked like the 1950s embodiment of Eita (Nagayama), the modern day actor who starred in that series I liked called Saikou no Rikon and many other Japanese dramas (Last Friends being another good drama he was in). I saw him in something else recently, a pretty hammy film on-line about two long-lost brothers uniting as adults which made me think of him.
Anyway, pouring green tea over rice is a great way of using up left-over rice isn`t it?
Add comment April 27, 2015 KorubettosHaiku
While Japan and her
close neighbor escape danger
Nepal earthquake hits
Soon after I posted last week saying that Japan and Taiwan had narrowly escaped an earthquake, Nepal suffered a disastrous earthquake with over 3,700 reported dead to date. Earthquakes and other natural disasters are tragic anywhere of course but Nepal does not have the same kind of infrastructure as Japan has (the foreign affairs minister of Nepal apparently commented on this himself at a conference in Japan just recently, a conference about aid in cases of earthquakes) in for example earthquake-resistent buildings, especially where schools and hospitals are concerned. Japan is not invincible of course as we saw in 2011 but it has a lot of experience to offer Nepal (who has suffered earthquakes previously) in constructing such infrastructure. The base of Mount Everest was badly affected and this will no doubt affect Nepal`s tourism industry.
The Nepalese are working away at finding survivors and dealing with the disaster and no doubt will receive a lot of international aid just as other countries have. Those participating in volunteer tourism or in Nepal climbing will no doubt help out if not hurt themselves.
Chile also suffered an earthquake in early April. So to Chile, Nepal:
Add comment April 27, 2015 KorubettosHaiku
Spared from a harmful
earthquake and tsunami they
can breathe easily.
Sorry to hear of an earthquake which has hit Taiwan and the southernmost islands of Japan just yesterday. Sadly, one man died and another person was injured in Taiwan by a fire caused by this earthquake. Thank god no more injuries or deaths occurred and that no tsunami followed it. For now. Hopefully never (though hoping for that is pointless I guess for countries in the ring of fire region). The last thing either Taiwan or any part of Japan needs is a tsunami (a second one in as many years in Japan`s case). I have been watching some on-line films lately from Japan – silly predictable films really – but it`s been a while since I`ve watched anything Japanese other than the films I already own. I am a bit fussy though so if after a few minutes the film seems like it`s going nowhere I look for another one. I`m also doing well on Memrise. Not letting the amount of words overtake me as they did before Xmas. And I`m hitting the last few chapters of that awful Japanese textbook I have pretty hard as well. Making up for lost time. After this, I`ll need a holiday – maybe Japan? Wouldn`t I love it!! Speaking of films, I hear Ken Watanabe has been starring in a musical of The King and I. Apparently, his English and his accent have been harshly criticized. Well, it must be hard to do that live on stage. If film is difficult (Memoirs of a Geisha was a case in point, Koji Yakusho did a better job than him I thought and he is not in as many English speaking films but over all Michelle Yeoh did the most decent job in that film) then stage performances in a language not your own must be ten times harder. The pressure of not just a speaking part but singing in a foreign language. Yikes!! Anyway, if he lives mostly in Japan – I`ve no idea – he would not be around English speaking locals on a daily basis (other than his language tutor/dialect coach or whoever he employs around the time of his plays/films) so give the man a break. If you`re not based regularly in the country of the language you`re speaking then your spoken language skills are not tested as much. Apart from the criticism over that, he generally got good reviews. Anyone seen any of the film versions of The King and I? I`ve seen the one with Jodie Foster and Chow Yun Fat. That was nice. I`ve never seen the original one though. Yul Brynner I think was the King and I don` know who Anna was played by.
Add comment April 20, 2015 KorubettosHaiku
This is not necessarily anything to do with Japan but a WordPress issue in general. I saw a shocking report in the news (well ok one newspaper report so far) just half an hour ago about the website of the national organization that helps rape victims in my country being hacked by アイシス. I don`t know why I am writing that in Japanese script as they probably have someone by now who knows Japanese but I just don`t want to tarnish my site with their name as everyone recognizes it. I imagine that it is quite upsetting for people logging on to that website as this crowd are obviously not fans of women, (among other groups) and most rape victims are let`s face it women (not forgetting that some are men of course but most are women).
Any organisation that is a support to women is not a friend of アイシス. Apparently, it is WordPress sites they hacked and this site uses WordPress as their website /content management system. I am glad to hear they regained control of their website. It is not the only website that was hacked by this lot. I imagine they hacked sites supporting homosexuality as well and so on.
Of course everyone has been declared an enemy of アイシス by now including Japan who have pledged revenge over Kenji Goto.
Well, アイシス you may be everywhere as you say but thankfully people who will be glad to see the end of you – and the sooner the better – are everywhere too.
Add comment March 9, 2015 KorubettosHaiku