Haiku reflections on Japan, International or other matters

Takei-n action

It’s April Fools Day

But I have to say that I

would trust George Takei …


.. if he’s serious about running for Congress in his state of California.  I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t.  Other actors/celebrities who have been a lot less likeable – whatever about knowledgeable – have gone for politics and this guy, in contrast, is very likeable and knowledgeable.

Like other on-line comments I’ve read, if it’s true I’d nearly move to the US just to vote for the guy.

Well, April Fool’s Day or not, he should go ahead with it.  I won’t say anymore in case it’s a joke.  But I hope it’s not him takei-n the piss.  He’s got a very good sense of humour but I don’t think he’d joke lightly about this.

Elsewhere, Japan is getting ready to take on North Korea for all that missile launching they’ve been carrying on with, in Japan’s – way too close for comfort – direction. As it’s actually self-defence they have a right to do so and there is no threat of changing the constitution to allow it.   And Japan should stand up for itself, with or without the help of the US (I wonder what George Takei thinks of that). I just hope that it does not lead Japan down a dangerous path as there are way too many right-wingers in Japan who would take the chance to change the constitution and become all-out aggressive again.   Shinzo Abe as I’ve said before is quite the militarist himself.

Haiku reflections on Japan


Silence from above,

struck dumb by mother nature

or awe-striking skill


Silence, the film based on the (very good) book by Shusaku Endo and which I’ve been waiting to see for a while and mentioned late last year , is finally coming out judging by the advertisements I’m seeing cropping up everywhere.  It stars Adam Driver and Andrew Garfield as the two Portuguese priests who go to Japan to look for their persecuted fellow priest played by Liam Neeson, and is directed by Martin Scorsese.   Ciaran Hinds, another Northern Irish actor, plays another big role. He’s a good choice I think.  I watched a trailer for it today.  I wonder how Scorsese settled on the first two actors here. Their Portuguese accents are actually ok from the trailer but will they hold up for a whole film?  I hope it doesn’t turn out like the actor who played Sam in Lord of the Rings who, I thought anyway, couldn’t stick to the one accent!! Or Hollywood attempts at Irish accents. Cringe.  If they chose actors with a natural non-native English accent, not necessarily Hispanic or Iberian, who also happened to have star appeal it might be better.  Or just not have accents at all.  Andrew Garfield actually looks good with a beard while Liam Neeson is looking super thin in his role (obviously given the conditions he ends up in he’s not going to be well fed but it’s so strange to see him so emaciated looking).   The role of the Daimyo (feudal lord) whom the two young priests and Neeson’s Fr. Ferreira encounter was supposed to be played by either Ken Watanabe or Koji Yakusho but I didn’t spot either of them in the trailer.  Maybe their schedules clashed but the man who seemed to be the Daimyo did look otherwise familiar as did another of the Japanese cast.   If it had been either, I think Yakusho would have been better. He has more of a presence I think.   Still, it’s good to see other actors getting to show their stuff.

In other good Japanese-related movie news, depending on how you see it, Toshiro Mifune has recently been given a star on the Hollywood walk of fame.  I say depending on how you see it because if they can give one of these stars to a person like the US President Elect (which was actually vandalized during the elections), it makes it less meaningful to see it being given to a deserving film actor.   He’s not the first Japanese actor or actor of Japanese origin to get one. George Takei and the late Pat Morita (Mr Miyage!) have one well-earned star apiece as well.   George Takei has recently expressed a lot of concern about talk about camps for immigrants by the soon to be new White House resident, given that he himself had to enter one of the World War II American camps for Japanese immigrants as a boy.  He really is going after immigrants it seems.

Japan is somewhat worried at the moment, for one thing because of the earthquake and tsunami that struck yesterday in the Fukushima coastal region – luckily no one died this time but it’s naturally a cause of concern – and on a political level because the aforementioned white house creature has announced he wants to pull out of the proposed TTP agreement.    I don’t know the ins and outs of this agreement but it was something Barack Obama hoped to see ratified before he left office.   Another project of Obama’s that T has no time for it seems.

Haiku reflections on Japan

Nuclear plants and war pilots

Folks not ready to

return to disaster zone

makes you think of war

Well, I haven’t blogged in a good while so back I am again with kind of positive news.    Reading today that Naraha, a town in Fukushima Prefecture very close, if not the closest, to the nuclear plant has had its evacuation order, given 4 and a half years ago, officially lifted with people free to return to their original homes should they wish to do so.  It is the first town to get this order lifted and has served as the government’s test case for lifting these evacuation orders, and moving people back, for the last year but naturally people are apprehensive about returning, as much as they might like to.   53% are said to feel not ready or undecided.   Houses falling down or in disrepair and wild boars roaming around can’t be very inviting but obviously the health issue is the big one.     The government are being criticized for rushing the procedure of lifting the evacuation order(s) on that and other towns so they can showcase their so-called Fukushima recovery in time for the Olympics in 2020.    This government hasn’t dealt very well with the whole situation, with their secrecy and so on.   So they perhaps deserve a degree of criticism.

I see the word ‘nuke’ used a lot in relation to Fukushima.  I think it is misused as a ‘nuke’ is a nuclear weapon not a nuclear power generation plant.  Right?   The atomic bomb used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki would be an example of a nuclear bomb.    That brings me to another news piece I read this morning.   The US Army’s only Japanese-American to fly over Japan and the Pacific during WWII has recently died at the age of 98.  Ben Kuroki had to fight hard to even get into the army as, being Japanese-American, he was treated with suspicion by the army recruiters, one camp of recruiters rejecting  his and his brother’s application to join before they drove 150 miles to try at another camp where they were both accepted.  Later, after having earned the ‘Distinguished Flying Cross’, he asked permission to fly one of the B-29s over the Pacific and eventually got accepted, again after initial suspicion. The American War Secretary at the time granted an exception allowing him to fly given his service record up to that point (but no doubt used it as a propaganda device as well).  In 2005, he earned the Distinguished Service Medal, the highest honour you can get from the US government for army service, and was recognised as simply American.     Whatever about your feelings about the US army and their various deeds around the world, he made history at the time considering all his compatriots were trapped in  glorified concentration camps throughout the US, and while he was not the only Japanese-American to join the war effort as a soldier nor the only one to do well, as I have covered in a different post, https://odetojapan.wordpress.com/2014/08/29/apple-trees-and-persecution/, and while other Japanese-Americans were later sent to Japan once the US had invaded it to act as interpreters and take up other roles, being allowed to fly over Japan as an American/enemy pilot was a whole other feat (just imagine what the Japanese military must have thought of that!).   RIP Mr Kuroki