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11 December 2012

Sociological Novel: How to maintain a plutonomy, Chapter 1

A plutonomy means a form of capitalism that is designed to make the rich control a nation's government, its economy and its society.

At a certain place in a certain country, the wealthy have gathered and are having a meeting.

economy,

They are the elite of the country.  Although few in number, they control the majority of the country's wealth. This is why they can do anything.  They have the power to manipulate society to suit themselves.  They have the economy, of course, politics, and even the media which forms public opinions in the palms of their hands.

 

 As they all gather under the chandelier, one of the wealthy breaks the ice while drinking his champagne.

 

"Hey, the global economy is on a bit of a downturn recently. I feel that our wealth has also been on a decreasing trend. Shouldn't we come up with some kind of countermeasure to this?"

 

"You're so right. Taxes are still just too high! We should really bring down things like the income tax rate."

"-and let's privatize the public enterprises. And relax the regulations. Let's pressure the government to get rid of regulations which are an obstacle to business. And to reduce labor costs, make them allow more temporary workers. The politicians and government officials all got where they are now through our donations and pay-offs; they'll do whatever we ask."

 

"But the government's budget will shrink by the amount the taxes we pay goes down, won't it? How do we make up for the deficit?"

 

"That's easy. We just reduce the education and social welfare budgets which have been used for the public up to now. The expensive taxes that we've been paying have been diverted to those that barely pay any tax. That's why we just need to keep raising consumption tax, insurance and pension payments, which they have to pay an equal amount of."

 

"But surely the public won't allow it. If we do that, public services will be degraded, the burden on individuals will increase, and they'll be critical that the rich get preferential tax treatment, and that workers are treated as disposable. We have to be conscious of the fact that this country is a democracy. Even if we have all of the wealth, regardless of one's assets, when it comes to votes it's one person, one vote after all."

 

"Which is why we'll use the media. We are also their major stockholders and advertisers; well feed them this information. We'll tell them that freeing the economy will lead to the development of the public and government as a whole, that they should consider the principles of capitalism, and that a large variety of cheaper, high quality goods and services will become available to consumers thanks to this freeing up. We'll tell them that if enterprise profits, workers will also receive benefits through the trickle-down phenomenon. If we run a campaign like this using some kept scholars, nobody will oppose us!"


 

The proposals decided upon at the meeting were executed by the government, and went unopposed by society thanks to the media's guidance of public opinion. Now then, on to the second meeting ten years later.

 

 

To be continued to Chapter 2

 


 

The story is an interesting and cynical perspective of the past few generations of society, specifically focusing on the disparity in wealth between the wealthy and the average member of the public. The story shows the wealthy conspiring to widen the gap between themselves and the workers of society.

 

It may be interesting to read this story along with a song. "Mercedes Benz". 

03 December 2012

"Classic Car Festa" in Jingu Gaien, Tokyo

It might sound Japanese English. It means Retroprospective automobile exhibition. Tens of the old generation cars lined up in one place, called Jingu Gaien on 1 of December 2012.

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It was a great show. I could see a lot of kinds of cars in the old days.

Most notable ones I want to introduce, which I've taken photos of are as follows.

Rolls-Royce

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Buick, the length of the body is 5 metre.

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De Lorean, Car featured in the film "Back to the Future"

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Countach, A car that a driver needs to get his head out of his car when driving back

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Mercedes-Benz in 1970's, this was the model when the same titled song was popular.

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"Oh, Lord. Won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz?" Are you rich enough to afford those cars?

27 November 2012

Translated Novel: "Let's Fundoshi" Chapter 7

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

Read Chapter 1 first.

“But this is a very Japanese thing. You might not like it because of difference of religion and customs” said Gen. He seemed so considerate.

“Don’t worry. I know things like that” Jacques replied. Speaking of religion, Jacques’s family has been traditionally Catholic but actually he visited church a few times a year. He was not a dedicated Christian. He wouldn’t mind things like that.

Besides, as he learnt Japanese culture in his major, he was taught Shinto has been recognized as festivity rather than religion. Like even Japanese prime minister is Christian or Buddhist, he could visit Ise Gingu shrine. It is said Japanese Shinto does not hold strong faith. Shito is polytheist. Unlike monotheist Christianity, it is rather considered flexible in terms of how to be faithful. It is similar to Native Americans primitive religion that admires nature as divinity.  

The origin of the festival was that during Edo period, a big tsunami hit the town and flooded the shrine which ended up pulling enshrined body to the shallow in the sea. Then local fishermen at that time carried that back to the shrine.

Next day, towners gathered in Watanabe’s to discuss festival matters. Yuriko joined as a member of the organizer family. Participants were mostly shrine parishioners but young boys, middle age and elderly men who would be carriers of the mikoshi (portable shrine that contains enshrined body) attended as well. Gen and Taro were among them.   

At the shrine, ceremony of purification would be done and then the mikoshi will be carried by the men, women, young and old until near the beach. From the beach to the shallow was men’s job. That was called “Sea walk.”

Jacques made a proposal for the preparation as an organizer. The proposal as a responsible man in charge of the festival matter. He took off his Yukata to show his proposal. Jacques stood and others sitting on tatami (straw mat) floor looking up to him.

“This year we are going to wear this for the Sea Walk.”

All the members looked at him shocked.

“Isn’t this Fundoshi?” one man said.

Jacques was only in white rokushaku fundoshi and bandana and tabi shoes.

 

“Jacques-san, why are you wearing this?” said Taro.

“Because this is tradition of the festival.”

“Why, are you, foreigner propose that?” said another.

“I am in charge of this festival so I want to do things successfully and make it joyful for those who carry mikoshi and those who view that.”

“But showing bare ass, we don’t want to do that” said one young man.

“If you want to do that, why don’t you do that alone?” said another young man.

“No. All of us have to do “Sea Walk” in this fundoshi. If not, significance of the ceremony is denied.”

“We don’ t want to be told what to do by a foreigner like you” said another man.

“So are you really a Japanese man? Don’t you mind changing form of traditional ceremony that runs for centuries? Before you treat me as outsider, why not ask yourself how much you know about yourselves?”  

 

All of the sudden, people became silent for a while.

Taro stood up.

“Jacques-san is right. If we cannot carry mikoshi in fundoshi, we would never be truly Japanese men. It is an insult to the enshrined as long as we loathe our own tradition .

Again, silence. Then Yuriko spoke out.

“Taro is right. It seemed only those who truly understand Japanese tradition here are Taro and my husband, Jacques. For women, it was just great to view guys’ bare asses lined up.” Yuriko tried to support the two men.

“Yuriko, let me join. I believe I’ve got good son in law.” Taizo said. “When I was Jacques’s age, all the men wore fundoshi in festival. It was a uniform for the festival and all of us together bathed in the sea getting fundoshi wet. All of us got unified. That was a most shining moment of our life.”

Taizo smiled. His eyes sparkled. He looked happier than ever.

Finally proposal that all the men participating in “Sea Walk” wear fundoshi on naked bodies was approved.

 

To be continued to Chapter 8

15:21 Posted in My novel | Permalink | Comments (0)

26 November 2012

Film"Midnight Cowboy" Hard place for gays

1969 film that a young Texan boy travelled to New York hoping that he would make a fortune but just got troubles ending up being a male whore in cowboy outfit selling sex to men on 42nd street.

I learnt about this film by reading a magazine article published in the same year. That was Japanese magazine. It says "The film is about gay issue in America. That describes how hard for gays living in America. In Japan gays are considered abnormal but not outlawed and in showbiz industry gays can take advantage of what they are. In most states of America gay sex is outlawed. For politicians exposing himself as being gay means end of his political career." (November 18, 1969, PREIBOUI (Playboy) published by Shueisha) That was Japanese perspective of the film at that time.

Sounds odd. Now as we see, America is much more open society to gays than Japan. There are openly gay congressmen and a senator. In some states gay marriage is legalized. But just a generation plus ten years ago, America was a hell for gays. The film clearly described how homophobiac American society had been.

Maybe such oppression turned driving force for liberation along with other civil rights movement like Blacks and women.

The story of the film was very boring to me but I understand significance of the message delivered in the film. Surprisingly the film was released as X-rated at that time. It can never be classified as X-rated by today's standard. Maybe because it was a time even a Color TV with remote was considered most sophisticated product as depicted in the film.

Things have changed drastically over the decades.

22:43 Posted in Film, Society | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: gay, homosexuality, cowboy