Ok

By continuing your visit to this site, you accept the use of cookies. These ensure the smooth running of our services. Learn more.

07 October 2012

Film"The Help" and "Precious" Elegant & Rich Whites and Vulgar & Poor Blacks

Two films are stories about Afro-Americans in the U.S. Both of them described hard situations that Black people had experienced in the past and maybe even now.

"The Help" was a story of Afro-American maids working for white families in Mississippi in 1960's when segregation was very common. Afro-American maids were not allowed to share bathroom with white family members. They had to always put up with white people's arrogance. A young white writer decided to write about their experience and publish that by interviewing them.

"Precious" was about a girl of the same name living in Harlem, New York, 1980's. She got two babies with her father. She was raped since she was a child. Her mother abused her because of pregnancy. Her mother and she lived on welfare. She had to stop attending middle school for pregnancy. So she had to attend special school for dropped outs.

Portrayals of Black people in the both films are kind of, from white perspective although Afro-American characters played important roles. They spoke grammatically incorrect English like "You is smart." They looked uneducated, vulgar and violent, wheras white or lighter skin characters looked elegant, educated and kind. That reflects on reality? Maybe or maybe not.

For white viewers such kind of films satisfy their supremacy and ease frustration caused by forcible integration.

Has America changed since Civil Rights Act?  

Mr. Obama is the president of the U.S. He is half-white and not descendant of slaves. If he was a pure Afro-American of slave descendant, he would have never been elected. He wasn't popular in the Southern States even among Democrats. Because he was elected, since his inauguration, number of Racist activist group has drastically increased.

Most recent survey for income gap among racial groups found Black and white gap recorded biggest since 1984 when the survey was first conducted. It was due to recession but why the burden biased to Afro-Americans? Racism? Poverty and lack of education caused by racial discrimination.

I don't like this part of America but this is reality of America.   

12 August 2012

Translated Novel: "Let's Fundoshi" Chapter 1

This is translation of Japanese novel on my Japanese blog site. The original title of the novel was "Nihon Danji wo Yamerarenai (Can't stop being Japanese traditionl man).

A Candadin man experiences FUNDOSHI, Japanese traditional male underwear, swimming suit and custume for festival.

Jacques Charbonneau was a Canadian man born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He belogns to majority of that reigion, so called "French Canadian."

From his childhood, he spoke French at home. His parents and relatives were all French Canadians. But he spoke English at school. Half of his friends were Englisha dn the other half were French.

Therefore his native languages were both Englisha and French. He was a billingual but since he entered Tronto University in State of Ontario, one more language was added and then he became tringual. The third language was Japanese.

Why he studied Japanese was he met a Japanese girl named Yuriko Watanabe, whom he fell in love with. She could speak English but he wanted to speak to her directly in her mother's language. The he chose Japanese as his major. With help of Yuriko, he mastered Japanese. His Japanese was excellent so that even Yuriko said that he could speak like Japanese national. He graduated from Japanese department of the university with top rank. After graduation, he started translation and interpretation among English, French, and Japanese. Afterwards, Yuriko became an important job partner and finally a partner in his private life.

When they got married, Yuriko's father, Taizo Watanabe flew to Canada and approved their marriage. The wedding was held in a small church with attendance of small number of people. Taizo was her only family member since her mother was already dead and she was the only child for Taizo.

Jacques wanted to visit Yuriko's hometown but he had been busy for his work and he was too afraid of flying. He could not have chance to visit Japan. He always regretted that he never visited his wife's hometown. He thought he should overcome flying phobia and visit Japan. He could speak Japanese fluently but he could only use it to his wife and Japanese living in Canada.

Yuriko never recommended Jacques to visit Japan. Her hometown was one of most conservative place so localies never welcome a foreign white man like Jaques. She heard that localies did not think her marriage to a foreigner was a good thing. So They thought they did not have to regret it.

But in the third year of their marriage, the couple had to visit Japan. Taizo got sick and was hospitalized. He got out of the hospital but had to stop working and stay home for rehabilitation. A woman who lived nearby sometimes visited him to see how he was but he seemed so depressed that Yuriko should look after him to help him recover his condition.

Yuriko was so worried that the two decided to go there. Translation work could be done even after they moved to Japan as long as they could maintain internet access. They checked the IT environment there and found out there was no problem doing it.

Jacques stood for more than 10 hour flight and finally arrived in Kansai International Airport in Japan. The two travelled to her hometown, Awai Town. The town was on the coastal line of the Sea of Japan in Chugoku region, it was a fishery town. From her home, spectacular ocean view was seen from a window. Taizo gladly welcomed Yuriko and Jaques after a long absence. Taizo was a local fisherman.

They used the room Yuriko had used from her childhood. They started getting along as family. Jacques found Taizo very weak comparing what he saw at the wedding. He got thinner and looked pale. He was as tall as Yuriko but looked smaller than before. He wished he would come back his fishery work afte he regained health. He thought about how to deal with him. Jaques called hime "Otosan (Father)" like Yuriko did.

A week has passed. Things happened as expected. Localies called him "Gaijin (Foreigner)." They spoke about him behind him but they never greeted. They treated hime like outsider. He tried to understand what they said but the language they used was blended with strong accent and dialect. With Yuriko's help. Jacques gradually understood what they said.

Even after they understood the language, living in conservative and closed community was hard for him. Furthermore he was a tall white Canadian. Some stayed away just by looking at him. He was appearently discriminated.

One more troubling thing happened, that was because of season he visited.

Hot and humid climate. It was far different from where he grew up. Even Montreal could get as hot as 30 degree but such hotness was what he never experienced before. It was because of Japan's humidity.

He got sweat very soon. Japanese got used to it but Jacques never resist such wet feeling. He was adapted to the coldness but not such humidity sweating so much.

His body finally responded to it. He got eczema. It was itchy and reditsh. He could not stop scratching. What should he do? He came over to help his father in law recover but he, himself became sick.

Yuriko advised him to see a doctor. The doctor diagnosed his symptom. The result was "latex allergy" in other way, it is called "Rubber allergy."
Jacques asked a doctor "Why did I get such allergy?"
"It is because of underwear you are wearing. The rubber band got soaked and melted down to your skin. Japan's humid summer melted rubber and got into your body that caused allergy symptom. Unless you stop wearing it, it can never be cured."

"You tell me never to wear underwear? Oh, no!" Jacques was shocked to hear that. It was never comfortable living without undewear. Especially for men it was necessary to tighten private zone to stay normal.

"Since you can't wear conventional underwear, we advise patients to wear something else instead" the doctor said showing him white long cloth.
"THIS IS FUNDOSHI".

PIC_0837.JPG

Continued to Chapter 2.

20 March 2012

Film "Working Girl" Back to 1980's

Working Girl is a 1988 romantic comedy film, which tells the inspiring story of a Staten Island-raised secretary, Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith), working in a Wall Street investment bank. When her boss, Katharine Parker (Sigourney Weaver), breaks her leg skiing, Tess uses Parker's absence and connections, including her errant beau Jack Trainer (Harrison Ford), to put forward her own idea for a merger deal.

It was a typical success story. She suceeded in business and love and got promoted. The film reflected 1980's social phenomenon like feminists arising. More women in business fighting against male cheuvinism in the industry and economic booming by financial sector such as merger and acquisition. The scenes were shot in the World Trade Center which was later destroyed by 911 terror attack.

However these things have become outdated lately.

Feminism is no longer a big issue. It is because gender equality has reached certain level so there is not much needs like in the past. In the mid-management position, in the US, women accounts for 40% of all the positions in business. Of couse glass ceiling still exists, in top management positions like CEO, women only accounts for 10%. In Japan 10% is ratio in mid-management position, ratio in top management is only 1% or less. But no one argues women working in top positions in the business or politics. Now it is a matter of time and efforts for individuals to get what they want regardless of gender.

But ironically, people have become more conservative recently. Although public attitude changed, women traditionally face difficulty breaking barriers which precedors already created and continued for so long. Women are no longer exluded but still not welcome and not suitable in male dominated sector. In fact not many women want to do totally same things as men do. Girls are girls and boys are boys anyway.

After all, even rich, successful and independent women want to get married to richer and more successful guys.

Lately backlash has come, more younger women want to be housewife because that is easier in economic recession and people discovered being good wife and wise mother is one of greatest choices in life. In the old days women could hardly chooose the way to live. Besides being housewife and mother was secretary, teacher or nurse. Now housewife is what they can choose besides working girl. In fact they can do the both if they want to. Recent feminist film "Mona lisa smile" implied traditional role of women is not bad at all although you do not have to comform to what the society expects you to be.

The other thing outdated is business success, especially in financial sector. After Lehman Shock and Occupy Wall Street movement, financial sector seemed to be con and dirty business that exploits many commoners in the society. Merger and Acquisition was a kind of money game which never cared about people working in companies.

Although people wanted to be and believed to be richer, only a few of them could achieve that. Just 1 % of people occupy vast majority of the wealth in the society. 

Success in business cannot always link to happiness in life. Working all day long and no time to use money for fun. No time to have good communication with your family. You have no friends and no one to trust or nobody who trusts you. What does money help you?

Furthermore, because of necessity of economic growth, our earth and lives are in danger such as global warming by carbon dioxide and recently radioactives from nuclear power plants. To grow more states and corporations have to exploit more natural resources and take huge risks for our lives.

Our lives, happiness, environment are at risk for materialistic success. That kind of things shouldn't be valued in motion pictures any more.

We are now living in a different era from 1980's materialistic era. We have to think and change.  

 

 

10:13 Posted in Film, Society, un-USA | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: feminism, women, fukushima

19 November 2011

Film "Mississippi Burning" and President Obama

The story is one Afro-American civil activist disappeared somewhere in Missippi 1964 and FBI men searched for them. Then they faced brutality of local people. The film described how uncivilized and scary deep South like Mississippi was.

I remember when I was in America, Afro-American professor of Black Studies criticized the film because the main characters were two good white men saving poor Afro-Americans. In fact, the film was made from white people's perspective.

When we, Japanese hear about Mississippi, first thing to come up is "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" by Mark Twain. But reality is racist conservative deep South. Now things have changed a little bit better, I guess.

America has changed since that time, which was proven by the fact that Obama was elected as President. However, it seemed he dissappointed those who voted for him. His supporters believed Obama can understand pain of the poor people because he shared the same experience. After he was elected, what appears to be was he was after all, American President just like other Presidents, who had different skin color. He had to serve for rich white men who dominate the country's wealth. He had to keep sending troops to the battle fields to save America's pride and military industry.

The consequence is "Occupy Wall Street." Now new type of seggregation emerged in a country of democracy and freedom. The rich and the poor.

Agony goes on as life goes on.