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10 September 2013

My city to host 2020 summer olympic games, is it good news?

IOC announced Tokyo will host 2020 summer olympic. This will be second time Tokyo was awarded as host city. First time was 1964.

Many people celebrated this announcement. However, I cannot fully celebrate. I think it was good news but there are some problems related to this event.

Biggest criticism of Tokyo's hosting is that crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plants are still leaking contaminated water and no way to stop this is determined. Prime Minister Abe said contaminated water is perfectly blocked within fenced area. That was a lie. It is going beyond that area.

Many people should be worried that if visitors to Tokyo olympic including greate athletes are to be affected by radioactives. Nobody knows what is happening here 7 years later. That means that Japan must deal with this problem very fiercely since the world is watching carefully. We need to solve Fukushima issue very seriously rather than celebrating.

The other thing I do not like is that olympic games have become too commercial. The reason that Tokyo was chosen is that Tokyo has so much money. IOC hopes to get big sponsors' money.

In the old days like Japan hosted first olympic game in 1964, the opening day was October 10 to avoid heat of summer, now it is scheduled to open in July, hottest time of a year. I do not think it is appropriate time for athletes to mark good records. It is to get more viewers in summer than autumn.

Personally as I get older, I cannot enjoy sports events like younger days because I learn athletes are not heroes rather they are livestocks of states or corporations. Or they, themselves are just fake entertainers. Real entertainers are better to me because their job is to act to entertain audience, wheras athletes are supposed to play seriously and fairly which is usually opposite to reality.

Sports games shouldn't be business or too much spotlighted. Sports are just for health improvement and leisure. The only business athletes should make money of is to be a trainer or instructor of sports for players, who are doing this for health and leisure, not for glory, fame and money. No athletes shouldn't be too serious to get steroids in their bodies. Sports are not worth it.  

In fact, for Tokyo and Japan olympic games are not as significant as we hosted first time in 1964 when Japan was aiming to be advanced nation after the defeat of war. Japan has become advanced and rich nation already. Japan hosted olympic 3 times before and the World Cup soccer games in 2002. Not very surprising. It was more like one of big international events. So what? Will this event boost economy? Not likely. After the game is over, business as usual, only that time like what happened after other olympic games. Just small portion of business people in very short period.

I do not care about what is happening in my city 7 years later. I may be moving somewhere else to escape from all the fuss.  

17 August 2013

Making a novel based on my alma mater's history

Last month I attended my alma mater's alumni event in Tokyo.

A lot of alumni living in Japan gathered at a restaurant exchanging memories and update information of the university. One faculty member from SFSU joined and told me about current situation. I graduated in late 1990's. He said a lot more buildings were constructed on campus.

But most surprising attendees were alumnis who graduated in 1960's. They were oldest in the group. He told us about his experience in that period. There was a student strike movement in those days following civil rights act. Ethnic minority students demanded the university to require all the students take ethnic minority study related subjects. They had been frustrated with racism in the university. Classes were boycotted and school buildings were occupied. The president of the university was changed during that time. It was Dr. Hayakawa, Japanese American. He accepted that demand.

Since then SFSU requires all the students to complete ethnic minority related courses. I did, of course. I remember what I took were Japanese American studies, Black studies, LGBT studies, and history of Japanese and Chinese women. Those were greatest studies in my life.

That ethnic study requirement was what my alma mater first acquired and spread all over the US. It was a good thing that I am proud of as alumni.

So my novel idea is based on what I heard and I research.

One Japanese student who grew up in a conservative family, Hiroshima, 1960's joined the university. He longed for America and American culture. He met a lot of kind of students there and instructors. One of them was an English teacher who was Japanese American, strict and conservative. Because of his instruction his English ability improved faster.

The strike started. The president was changed. It was that Japanese American teacher. The Japanese boy expected him to understand the movement because of his ethnicity but he was actually opposing that movement and trying to supress the students.

The Japanese boy along with his friends who were white, Afro-American, Asian Americans negotiated with him. He used what he learnt and loathed from his childhood to convince the president. Japanese heritage, tea ceremony, Kendo and so on.

Sounds interesting, doesn't it?

The theme song should be "Blowing in the wind." The answer is blowing in the wind.

 

30 July 2013

Film"EMPEROR" Honne (true feeling) and Tatemae (appearance)

I just saw the film. It was not excellent but not bad, actually it was good considering it was made by Americans. It was indeed made from American perspective but thoroughly desriptive about Japanese personality and culture.

The story was based on memoirs of a former military officer who did research on the emperor's responsibility for the second world war. He interviewed with former politicians, military officers, and servants for the emperor to learn about what Emperor actually did before the war and end of the war. He also tried to find where his loved Japanese woman was.  

One of impressive things about the film was one former prime minister said "Japan just followed what US and European nations did in terms of invading China and Phillipine. But why were westerners never convicted?"

The film described difference between Honne (true feeling) and Tatemae (appearance). Japanese seem to be calm in apperance but in their mind they have strong feeling and devotion which can make them brutal.

Emperor's role was very ceremonial so he was not actual starter of the war. It was the nation and militants that led the war.

However, I want to rate this film "B" not "A." It contains love romance essence but the conclusion of the romance was not what I expected. It was reverse and not so good.

Emperor has no responsibility for the war act. Not totally true. Recent research suggests the emperor actively coped with military people.

I just could not be totally satisfied with the film. I wanted more twists and surprises. Kind of clechay for Japanese who has studied this part of history.

Personally it was really helpful to me. I recently started to write a novel on the same period of the history. Mine is gender reverse. American woman and Japanese man. The woman character is inspired by a true character who helped rebuild and democratise Japan in post-war era. She visited Japan before the war.

Hope mine will come out as a film like this film.

03 July 2013

Entertained by a male Geisha

Did you know there are male Geishas in Japan? Geisha usually means female escorts in kimono. But there is male version of it.

Men in kimono entertain guests in the tea houses or Japanese style restaurants.

They are called "Taikomochi" or "Hokan" in Japanese.

Last month I went to the lunch show of a male Geisha in Kagurazaka district in Tokyo. The Geisha name is Yugenteitamahachi.

Geisha, kimono,

He is one of very few male Geishas remained in Japan. In the old days like in middle of 20th century there were more than 400 of them. As time passes by, not many people do not enjoy Geisha shows in Japanese style room. He said that as entertaiment is diversed, people can have more choice for entertainment, not just Geisha play.

Male Geisha do not play the same role as Geisha girls. They are not sexy, they are rather funny characters, like comedians. They coordinate between male guests and Geisha girls. So the guests can know who can be best girls for them. They know how to chat with guests, including man to man vulgar chatting. They are very considerate, avoiding politics and religions as topics.

But they can do performances as singing, playing shamisen guitar, mimicing celebrities, and dancing.

Geisha,

  Geisha, kimono, 

The show was not as impressive as Geisha girls' show I enjoyed a few months ago. But it was good that I could learn one form of Japan's tradition. Sorry to know that this is an endangered occupation.  

17:06 Posted in Culture, Tokyo Life | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: geisha, kimono