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08 March 2024

Film "Elvis" American culture is Black culture!

I watched the film on my flight to Paris from Tokyo last week. The film helped me to kill time during the very long flight hours. 

It was a biography of the king of rock, Elvis Presley. He was born in southern state where seggregation was very common. But he grew up in a Black community so he had no prejudice against Black people but rather appreciate his experience with Black people who inspired him to sing in a new style. That is why he sang the requiam song for Dr. Martin Luther King "If I Can Dream" in 1968.

That may be a reason why he played a protagonist in the musical film "Blue Hawaii (1961)" in which he marries a native Hawaiian woman." 

His life was not always glorious nor very happy one because of his parents' treatment of him. He was mama's boy and his father was weak so he and his family were manipulated by a conman who managed his showbiz activities. The conman did not have a US citizenship so that is why he could not hold the world tour. I felt very sorry because if the conman did not stop him to go to the world tour, he could visit Japan and sing at Japanese audience. He said he wanted to do that. That was more profitable for him and his family but very bad for the conman. His life was shortened due to the hardwork imposed by the conman. 

His singing style such as waving his waist was affected by Black singers he was acquianted with. In fact, his singing is Black singers' style. That is why conservatives tried to stop him from singing in public. Black culture had been considered vulgar culture but created a very unique American culture. None the less, Black people have been oppressed in America. America took them to his land forcibly depriving of their human rights and treated them as slaves and second class citizens while gaining cultural advantage from them. 

Elvis Presley was a byproduct of America's cruelty. I felt very saddened to know such history. 

Entertaiment industry is grotesque everywhere in the world. In Japan, recently it was found boys being sexually abused by a big boss of the most influential entertainment agency. 

As I get older and learn more about such stories, I am losing interests and admiration to showbiz industry. I don't enjoy such shows any longer. I rather read books than films. 

I am hoping we will no longer need human singers or actors but Artificial Intelligence creates such super stars. 

21 August 2022

Novel: "Henoko Bar, Stars and Stripes" Chapter 8 "We Shall Overcome"

In Henoko, Nago City, Okinawa Prefecture, shaken by the issue of the construction of a new U.S. military base, a female singer time slips to the time in the midst of the Vietnam War. What is the Henoko New Base Problem? What is the Vietnam War? What is America? What is Okinawa?


A short story in 9 chapters. Each chapter features famous songs from Japan, the United States and Okinawa.

Please read from Chapter 1.


That evening, Naomi was standing in front of the Stars and Stripes wall building with her guitar strapped on her shoulders. This building seemed to symbolize the "American world" of Okinawa during the period of American rule. She wondered what she could do.

She sang several times in this building. She wondered what kind of song she was going to sing this time. If she didn't come by herself, the entrance door of this building would not be open. Naomi waited patiently on the road of the quiet village until something could be heard from inside like before. But nothing was heard. 

She glared at the door, and decided to approach the door, thinking that she would put her hand on the knob of the door anyway and try to open it anyway, but the door opened from inside as she approached. 


Music was heard from inside. It's an oldies song on the jukebox. It's not "oldies" in the world inside.

Naomi immediately walked into the bar. The inside was as crowded as ever. It was a stark contrast to the silence outside that she’d been in for a while. Kenny was at the counter. Naomi headed for the counter.

"Kenny, good evening," Naomi called out over the counter. She pulled her guitar down her shoulder and leaned against the side of the counter.

"Hi, Sister," Kenny said. She could see that his expression was a little harder than usual.

"How are you doing?" asked Naomi.

"Well, I've decided to quit here, I worked here right after graduating from junior high school, but a relative in the mainland asked me if I wanted to go to high school there," Kenny said with a wry face.

"Oh, that’s nice," Naomi said.

"It's hard for me to leave Okinawa, but I just don't know if working in this bar all the time would open up my life. I felt that I had to study properly and get to know the world well. Hey, you sang Amazing Grace last week. I thought Tony cried for his brother killed in battle and he said he was going to the battlefield like his brother.

They're nasty guys for us but I realized they're just helpless people in front of the state. They think they are doing something good by being submissive to the state," Kenny said.

Naomi also remembered Tony. What kind of thoughts will Tony have when he goes to the battlefield? Is he going to take revenge on his brother on the battlefield? Will that hatred be enough to make him want to fight?

Can’t imagine how he would treat the Vietnamese people. Naomi thought that the Vietnam War was the wrong war in the first place, and that she should not let anyone go. As a future person who knew the consequence of the war, she wanted to convey that.

"Kenny, then I would like you to study hard in the mainland and come back to Okinawa as a respectable person. Yes, if you become a politician. I want you to become a member of the Diet representing Okinawa or even a prefectural governor," she encouraged Kenny.

"I can't be such a good person, let alone a member of Parliament or a prefectural governor, I'm a child of Blacks. No one is going to vote for me," Kenny said with a laugh.

Naomi said.

"You should have a dream. Like ”I have a dream.” Let’s have dreams," Naomi recalled of a phrase she learned in high school English class.

"Dreams?" But Dr. King was killed because he said that," Kenny said.

"But the spirit is inherited, he passed the Civil Rights Act to eliminate discrimination and he won the Nobel Peace Prize. It has greatly changed the world where Blacks were not allowed to use the same facilities as whites. He did not use violence. He guided many people with speech and non-violent disobedience and contributed to the realization of the dreams. You can be like Dr. King. I know," Naomi said.

"Why?" asked Kenny.

"I know the future, and in the future, Black man will be the president of America," Naomi said confidently.

Kenny smiled widely.

"Hey, are you from the future?" Kenny asked Naomi.

"Yes, sir," she replied emphatically.

Kenny said, stunned.

"Hmmm, I believe it, Sister you look different from people of today. I mean, in the future, will you see me if I become such a great person?"

"I hope to see you again," Naomi said with a smile.

"Oh, by the way, I have to give back the Sanshin instrument claw that I forgot to give back," Kenny said.

"It's OK. Hold on to it. So that you don't forget Okinawa and me," Naomi said.

"OK, then I'll take care of it," Kenny said happily.

Suddenly, she noticed Jimmy beside her drinking a glass of liquor.

"Kenny, one more drink," he said, holding out his glass to Kenny. Jimmy looked very nervous and his face was blushing. He looked pretty drunk.

"Hi, Jimmy," Naomi called out.

"Hey, Naomi, did you come to sing again? Last week's Amazing Grace was awesome. I'm glad to hear you sing again," he said in a rather drunken manner.

Naomi said to Jimmy, worring about last night incident for her.

"How's Tony doing?" It was painful to see how sad he was because of his brother’s death," Naomi said.

"He left for Vietnam yesterday. After the death of the serviceman’s family member, he could be given a reprieve, but he went to the battlefield immediately because he wanted” Jimmy said.

Naomi was horrified to hear that. So what would Tony do in Vietnam? And what would happen to Tony?

"Now I've been ordered to be dispatched the day after tomorrow, and tonight is the last time I can have a drink here" said Jimmy.

"I see," Naomi said.

Jimmy walked over the counter and headed for the jukebox, tossing coins in. Music played. A song that Naomi also knew, "Will you still love me tomorrow?" by Shrells?

Jimmy approached Naomi and offered her a hand, saying, "Dance with me." Naomi involuntarily took Jimmy's hand and then he pulled her tightly, starting their dance. Naomi was good at singing, but not so much dancing. Somehow, Jimmy hooked her up to dance like a blues or jilba to the tempo of the song.

The lyrics are a mixture of the joy of love and the anxiety ahead: "You love me kindly and with all your strength tonight, but will you love me the same way tomorrow?" Jimmy's expression was hardened. Yes, it could be the last dance of his life.

When the song ended, Jimmy said "Thank you" and went back to the counter and continued drinking. Naomi was somewhat curious, "How long is the flight from Okinawa to Vietnam?"

"This time, I'm not going to go directly to Vietnam from Okinawa. I'm going to stop at Yokota Air Base in Tokyo and join another unit and go to Vietnam. It's a weird detour, but I get an extra two days off. I can take a look at your city," Jimmy said to Naomi with an awkward smile.

Naomi was taken aback by the word "Yokota Base." She looked at Kenny and said.

"Kenny, I wonder if there's somewhere in this bar where I can be alone with Jimmy," Naomi said, looking around the bar's space.

"Oh, there's a private room in the back there, we don't usually use it," said Kenny. She saw a curtain hanging in the direction he was pointing. It was in the corner of the bar.

"Jimmy, can we just talk alone?" said Naomi.

"Why, is there something special?" Jimmy said, looking at Naomi with a crease between his eyebrows.

"I have a very important story to tell," Naomi said, taking Jimmy's hand and pulling it towards the curtain. Jimmy casually followed suit.

Once they were inside, Naomi closed the curtains. In the private room, a sofa and chairs were placed across the table. Naomi sat down in a chair and Jimmy sat on the couch and faced each other at the table.

"Jimmy, you may not believe what I'm about to say, but listen, I'm from the future," Naomi said with a serious expression.

"Oh, what are you saying? From the future? When did you come from?" Jimmy said.

"It's 2018, fifty years from now. From the future where the Vietnam war you are fighting in is long over," Naomi said.

"You're kidding, I don't know if I'm drunk or if you're drunk, but this is the first time I've ever been told this. Time machines were in science fiction novels, are you kidding me?" said Jimmy.

This reaction was expected. Naomi pulled her phone out of her pocket.

"Look at this," she said as she showed Jimmy the screen of her smartphone. A flat screen with lights and icons lined up was displayed.

"What is this?" asked Jimmy with a look of surprise.

"It's the phone of the future," Naomi said.

"Phone, is this it? It doesn’t have a cord," Jimmy said.

"It's wireless," Naomi said.

"But you can't use it in this day and age, because you don't have a radio wave that you can use. But visual things can be done. Like this," Naomi said, playing the downloaded video.

The video begins with the title "The Vietnam War" and the theme song.

"Wow, is it a color TV in this flimsy machine?" said Jimmy.

"Yes, in the future, this little machine can contain images and music that you can listen to and watch wherever you are," Naomi said.

"It's like a 007 movie, isn't it a special spy gear?" I know a movie where there is a TV on a radio walkie-talkie."

"It's something that everybody has in the future, and unlike movies, it's not something with combined fictional images. It has a camera and you can take photos and videos."

Naomi said, stopping the documentary, activating the camera and filmed Jimmy.

Then she immediately played back and showed a video of Jimmy moving his face.

"You just shot me now?" There's an eight-millimeter film in it and developed it right away? It is also very clear. It's amazing," Jimmy said, his eyes wide open and he couldn’t hide his surprise.

"Next time, watch this video, this is a TV show that summarizes the history of the war you are involved in now. You can see how people of the future came to record this war," Naomi said.

Jimmy watched the video on her smartphone screen with interest.

The documentary begins with the so-called "Indochina War" after World War II, when the Southeast Asian country of Vietnam campaigned for independence in order to be liberated from its colonies from France. Narration is covered in past photographs and film footage.

Vietnam had been colonized by France after a dynasty collapsed in the nineteenth century, and the national independence movement flourished after the second world war. As a result, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam led by Ho Chi Minh was established in the north, but the Republic of Vietnam was established in the south with the support of the United States and Godin Jem as president.

The United States, in order to succeed France, which had lost its colonies, decided to establish a puppet state for fear of the spread of communism from the north. There was an intention to prevent the spread of communism, so-called domino theory countermeasure.

However, the political situation in South Vietnam was unstable, and Godin Jem suppressed the people with a dictatorship. Monks who were oppressed by the Catholic establishment sometimes set themselves on fire on the streets. In South Vietnam, a force called the "South Vietnamese Liberation Front" commonly known as the "Viet Cong" who aimed to unify with North Vietnam arose.

The Viet Cong shook Saigon, the then capital of South Vietnam, with bombings. U.S. military bases in South Vietnam were also attacked.

In 1964, the U.S. Navy launched retaliatory bombing on the grounds that it had been attacked by North Vietnamese forces on the high seas off Vietnam. This is later revealed to be a lie, but this triggerd the start of the Northern bombings, which attack military bases in North Vietnam. With the approval of Congress, then-U.S. President Johnson began full-scale military intervention in Vietnam.

From the following year, more than 100,000 land troops were deployed to South Vietnam. The land force's strategy was "Search and Destroy", which was to find villages with Viet Cong forces in South Vietnam, rob villagers of food, and burn down their homes.

In Vietnam, which had a lot of dense rainforests, the Viet Cong, who were good at guerrilla warfare, had an overwhelming advantage. In addition, under circumstances where it was difficult to distinguish which villages were connected to the Viet Cong, they had no choice but to carry out sabotage activities at random. US military tried to gain an advantage in jungle warfare, spraying large amounts of defoliants containing toxic dioxins from the air to destroy Viet Cong strongholds and village farmland.

Although the U.S. military used overwhelming military power and the latest weapons, the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese People's Army forced them to struggle with persistent resistance, and in January 1968 the Tet Offensive that occurred on the Lunar New Year in Vietnam began.

In particular, the Viet Cong's occupation of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon has made the disadvantages of the U.S. military clear. The Tet Offensive was suppressed, but the U.S. Embassy Occupation was broadcast live to American homes via television broadcasts.

Footage of Viet Cong soldiers with their hands tied up being shot dead by South Vietnamese troops on the streets was also broadcast, raising questions about the reality of South Vietnam, where the U.S. was on its side.

In the United States, the anti-war movement flourished, and young people took action to refuse conscription. In October 1967, tens of thousands of anti-war demonstrators gathered in Washington, D.C., eventually storming the Pentagon building and clashing with police officers.

Civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. also expressed his anti-Vietnam War views. Dr. King said.

"We cannot turn a blind eye to the unreasonableness of a young white man and a Black man who are not even allowed to be in the same classroom in schools in their home country but die together on the battlefield."

Dr. King's close relationship with President Johnson, who passed the Civil Rights Act, allowed him to enter and leave the White House freely, but he was locked out at the same time as he joined anti-war movement.

Dr. King was assassinated by a white man in April 1968.

Later, President Johnson, whose support had fallen due to the plight of the U.S. military in Vietnam, announced that he would not run in that year's presidential election. The ruling Democratic Party was divided. Robert Kennedy, the younger brother of the assassinated former President Kennedy, ran for president on a promise of an honorable withdrawal from Vietnam, but he was assassinated during the election campaign.

So far, so good, is a historical facts that Jimmy had known already.


And from here, it was a fact that only future people could know.

In 1968, U.S. troops to Vietnam increased to more than 500,000 troops.

On August 29 of the same year, a peace march by 10,000 young people in Chicago was stopped from walking by a large number of Chicago police on its way to the site of the convention of the ruling Democratic Party, which was promoting the Vietnam War, and eventually developed into an incident of police officers beating citizens. It was remembered in history as the Chicago riots.

Participants crowded into police officers.

"We just want to have a peaceful march, why not?"

"No. I can’t permit you to march like that," the middle-aged policeman replied.

Still, as the protesters advance, the police waved batons and other weapons to block their way. Many people were seriously injured. Police dragged the participants into a police convoy. Activists imprisoned in convoys sang "We Shall Overcome." The song was originally gospel sung in church, but was changed to a pop tone to boost the morale of participants at anti-racism civil rights rallies.

It was also to be sung in the anti-war movement of the Vietnam War.

In the presidential election of the same year, there was a change of government, and President Nixon, a Republican Party, was elected. Nixon had pledged an honorable withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam. He then went on a policy of gradually reducing the number of U.S. troops, but the fighting continued.

At that time, it was discovered that a massacre occurred in a place called Mi Lai Village in Vietnam, which was considered to be a Viet Cong village by U.S. troops and became the target of an attack, and it was taken up by the media. More than 500 villagers, including women and children, who had nothing to do with the fighting, were slaughtered and shocked American society.

The convicts were accused of killing large numbers of innocent civilians as part of an annihilation operation to kill all the enemy, according to accompanying soldiers who witnessed the scene. This further intensified anti-war public opinion.

In 1970, a whistleblower complaint by a U.S. government official exposed a classified document called the "Pentagon Papers" to influential newspapers such as the New York Times and the Washington Post. The contents of the report were analyzed as covert operations against Vietnam that have been hidden until now and the fact that the U.S. military was at a disadvantage from the beginning, and it turned out that if the analysis had been followed, it may have been possible to prevent the quagmire in Vietnam, and then publice demand for the withdrawal of the American people from Vietnam became stronger and stronger.

In 1972, the U.S. military withdrew from Vietnam for the most part, leaving the role to the remaining South Vietnamese National Armed Forces.

In April 1975, Saigon fell. As a symbolic image, North Vietnamese People's Army tanks broke into the presidential palace and occupied the place. At the same time, the U.S. Embassy was closed, and Vietnamese who had been cooperating with the South Vietnamese government rushed to the embassy for fear of a purge by the North Vietnamese. A black helicopter takes off from the embassy and takes refuge on an aircraft carrier at sea.

They landed on the deck, but many people boarded the carrier, and the helicopter lost its place and was dumped in the sea.

Vietnam achieved the long-awaited national reunification, and North and South Korea unified and became the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. It took twenty years that Vietnam and the United States restored diplomatic relations.

From then on, Vietnam became a symbol of America's frustration and failure. It will also be a big scar. Footage of a deformed child born to a former soldier who were physically disabled by defoliants sprayed in Vietnam was shown. The situation of the Vietnamese people were worse than the American soldiers. Even in the generation born after the war, the effects of defoliants continued to remain in the environment. There are no limbs, the skeleton of the face collapsed, and all the images are unbearable to watch.

Later, the history of the Vietnam War became a movie. "Apocalypse Now" (1979) depicts a former U.S. military officer who hid in the jungles of Vietnam, created his own kingdom with the natives, and viewed the U.S. soldiers as enemies.

"Platoon" (1986) depicts young U.S. soldiers who joined the unit of the Viet Cong extermination operation killing and raping civilians, as well as the extreme situation in which friends kill each other.

"Born on the Fourth of July" (1989)

Ron Kovic, a volunteer soldier to Vietnam born on National Day of the US Independence, killed his comrade in a friendly fire accident, later got severely injured to a wheelchair. When he returned home, he was in the midst of the anti-war movement, and he himself reconsidered the war and got himself into the anti-war movement.

There was a scene where he stormed into the presidential convention on a wheelchair and appealed to the media about the ridiculousness of the Vietnam War, and there was a scene where he confessed to the family of the soldier whom he killed accidently in a fight. The dead soldier's sister told Ron Kovic:

"I can never forgive you, but the Lord does."

The video was about twenty minutes long, and although Jimmy was drunk, he continued to watch the video with serious eyes. He was silent for a while after he finished watching, but suddenly smiled.

"Wow, that's the toy of the future. Are you an anti-war activist? What do you want me to do by making this film and showing it?" said.

"It's hard to believe it, I know, it's such a bizarre thing. But right now, even in your country, many people are wondering about this war. Dr. King objected, and there are anti-war movements happening all over the place and some people refuse to be drafted," Naomi said.

"I think I should do my duty, as an American citizen," Jimmy said.

"But it's painful to think that you're going to be hurt in a war or killed like Tony's brother, and you're not the kind of person who can hurt people. And a man of justice. I don't want you to kill an innocent person on the battlefield," Naomi said, forming a few tears from her eyes.

"What do you want me to do?" Jimmy asked.

"There's a bar called RUNAWAY near Yokota Air Base, about a five-minute walk away, and there's a guy named Hara there. If you talk to him, you don't have to go to the battlefield," Naomi said timidly.

"Oh, are you telling me to be a deserter, that's a crime act," Jimmy said.

"If you go to the battlefield, you might commit a worse crime," Naomi said.

"I won't disobey the orders of the state," Jimmy said.

"But if America is a democratic country, shouldn't you also use the power of the citizens to correct the government from doing the wrong thing?" said Naomi.

"I don't want to be seen as a coward, I'm not going to run away," Jimmy said.

"It may be considered courageous to fight in the war, but I think you should have the courage not to fight in the wrong war," said Naomi.

There was silence for a moment.

"Hey, show me the film again," Jimmy said.

Naomi replayed the video on the smartphone.

"Can you skip the first half of this film" said Jimmy. 

"Sure, I can" said Naomi. 

He asked her to fast-forward the video until a scene where the participants of the peace march in Chicago and the police team were talking face to face.

"Stop it," Jimmy said.

"Again," he asked her to repeat the scene.

"Thanks, the toys of the future are really amazing. Was this developed by NASA? Or the Soviet KGB? Is it an electrical manufacturer somewhere in Japan? I don't know, but you showed me something interesting," Jimmy said.

"Jimmy, please, think about it, for your sake. For your country. And for the world," Naomi became very sentimental.

"Sing a good song, will you," Jimmy said, opening the curtain and walked out of the private room and towards the counter. He ordered whiskey from the master who was standing beside Kenny at the counter. It's like he can't help but drink a lot.

Naomi picked up her guitar and headed for the stage. Then she started playing guitar and sing.

We Shall Overcome, We Shall Overcome,

We Shall Overcome some day

Oh, Deep in my heart, I do believe.

We Shall Overcome some day,


We are not afraid, We are not afraid,

We are not afraid today

Oh, Deep in my heart, I do believe.

We Shall Overcome some day,


We Shall Live in Peace, We Shall Live in Peace

We Shall Live in Peace some day,

Oh, Deep in my heart, I do believe.

We Shall Overcome some day,


The American soldiers in the audience had mixed reactions. Some simply fell in love with Naomi's beautiful voice, while others felt resistance to it because it was an anti-war song. Perhaps because of that, the inside of the bar has become quiet. There were many young people, but the atmosphere has changed to one that one does not feel bustling.

Jimmy stared at Naomi as he approached the board with the dollar bills on it, pulled a bill out of his pocket, wrote his name by the pen on the counter, and pinned it down. It was the same board that Tony pinned down.

Naomi shouted desperately.

"Comeback, alive, Do the Right thing!"

She thought she told Jimmy what she had to say. She had no intention of persuading him. She did it because she thought it was her duty to tell him that.

The bar master approached her on the stage.

"You do it again, why are you doing this? You are breaking the mood, now get out!" Naomi glared at the master and followed Jimmy out of the bar door with her guitar strapped on her shoulders.

Outside was a quiet August 2018 night in the village of Henoko.


To be continued to Last Chapter.

20 August 2022

Novel: "Henoko Bar, Stars and Stripes" Chapter 7 "Sit Down Here"

In Henoko, Nago City, Okinawa Prefecture, shaken by the issue of the construction of a new U.S. military base, a female singer time slips to the time in the midst of the Vietnam War. What is the Henoko New Base Problem? What is the Vietnam War? What is America? What is Okinawa?


A short story in 9 chapters. Each chapter features famous songs from Japan, the United States and Okinawa.


Please read from Chapter 1.


   The next morning, Naomi participated in a sit-in in front of the gate. Last night, as soon as she got back to the inn, she crawled into bed and fell asleep in tears.

  It was hard to think about Tony and Jimmy. From that night to morning, she didn't see Genjiro again. The rooms they stayed in were separate, and before breakfast, Genjiro had gone somewhere. Text message from him had been informed that he had an early morning errand and could not be with her in the morning.

  Then, she decided to go to the front of the Henoko construction gate by herself first and participate in the activity.

  About twenty participants in the sit-in were there. The organizer of the sit-in asked singer Naomi to sing a song for the sit-in. He showed me a video of the song on his smartphone. The tone of the song and the lyrics were simple and she learned it quickly. She sang and the participants followed her singing.

  Sang to participants on folding deck chairs in front of the gate of twenty people. The title was "座り込めここへ, Suwarikome kokoe! (Sit Down Here.)" The song was written and composed by IMAMURA Kazuo, but the lyrics have been modified by Henoko sit-in activists.

  Sit down, here,

  Sit down here

  Cross your arms and get here    

 Sit down here

 Shaken and crushed 

 When it's time to rebuild the lines,

 Cross your arms and get here

  Sit down here


  Sit down, here,

  Sit down here

  Sing and Come Here    

  Sit down here

  Shaken and crushed

  When it's time to rebuild unity,

  Sing and Come Here

  Sit down here


(Singing by a singer who inspired the author to write this novel. )

  Accompanied by Naomi's beautiful voice, the participants sang with full of energy. The atmosphere suddenly brightened. Naomi felt that her palpitations from last night had completely subsided.

  Suddenly, old men walked up to her with scared faces. One of them was the face, Naomi looked familiar. She met him at a bar where locals gathered on the first night after coming to Henoko.

 The man raised his voice and said to the participants, including Naomi.

"It's annoying to us, you people sitting in a place like this, you don't understand how we, the locals feel. We welcome the new base. If a new base is built in the future, many soldiers and their families will come here. Then they come to our store and drop us some money. What's wrong with that?"

 All the participants fell silent as the momentum pushed them. They don't know what to say back.

  But Naomi quickly came up with words to say back.

"You want to be able to make money, don't you? Soldiers might die on the battlefield if there is a war. Also, they may kill people on the battlefield and kill people who have nothing to do with war. If you can attract people like that and make money, that's what makes you happy."

  Men's faces hardened by Naomi's words. This time they couldn't seem to find the words to say it back. Then, one of the participants in the sit-in, an elderly man about their age, stood up and said to them.

"This young lady is right, she's young, but she knows better. American soldiers are people who go to war. It is against humanity to make money by using human life as a stepping stone. A long time ago, when I was young, there was a Vietnam War, and many American soldiers went to die. On top of that, the U.S. soldiers killed a lot of innocent people in Vietnam. The U.S. military is an army that fights ridiculous wars. Can you be proud to be able to hang out with such army and make money?"

   There was silence for a while, and the two men left with expressionless faces.

  Soon after, a convoy of trucks came to the construction gate. As usual, police and riot police instruct them to leave in front of the gate. If they don't follow the instructions, riot police will pull their arms or carry them away. Sitting down, Naomi was yanked by the arm by two riot police officers and left the gate. Then, trucks loaded with construction materials entered the gate.



  Around the gate, sit-in-protesters raised slogans and continued to shout against the construction of the new base.


  After the morning sit-in was over, the participants moved to the tent and gathered. They finished morning work. Then, the elderly man who had supported Naomi spoke to her.

"You are wonderful," he said.

"Thank you very much for you help," Naomi said with a smile.

"Naomi-san, that was wonderful," Genjiro suddenly appeared.

"Genjiro," Naomi said in surprise.

" I was just watching near the gate, I arrived just as you were talking to the two men after the morning errand, but I was just watching because I didn't want to interrupt. Then, Mr. Hara here also supported you. Naomi-san, you were brave," Genjiro said very happily.

"Genjiro-kun, so she is the beautiful singer you were talking about. My name is Hara. I've known Genjiro-kun for a long time in Henoko. This time I came here to help him again," Hara said.

"Hara-san is our senior, besides, he's a former member of Beheiren," said Genjiro.

"Beheiren?" asked Naomi in an unfamiliar tone.

Hara said.

"Beheiren is an abbreviation for “Betonamu Heiwa Rengo (Vietnam Peace Coalition), an anti-war group that has been campaigning against the Vietnam War since the 1960s. We did anti-war demonstrations, but we also helped American soldiers desert."

"Desert?" surprised Naomi.

 Genjiro said.

"Mr. Hara is a hero. He took care of the American soldiers who deserted from Yokota Air Base and fled to neutral countries. What a thing he did!" Genjiro said.

"Oh, they are victims who have been swayed by wrong national policies. If we don't just demonstrate but also take direct action from time to time, the world will not change and people will not be saved," Hara said proudly.

"How did you manage them to desert from Yokota Air Base?" asked Naomi suddenly.

"We passed on the information to Americans around there, come to “RUNAWAY,” a bar 5 minutes walk from the base, then they can desert! I remember I could take care of a few people," Hara replied.

"RUNAWAY, it really means to desert," Genjiro said.

"But it's ridiculous to desert, isn't it, for a soldier?" Naomi said.

"Oh, I did it with a sense of dread because it would be a criminal act. But at the end of the Vietnam War, deserters were given amnesty even if they were caught. American public opinion was also disgusted with the Vietnam War, so they became friendly to deserters."

  Naomi and Genjiro returned to the inn. They stared at each other.

"Naomi-san, I'm very happy that you have such a passion for the Henoko movement," Genjiro said, and then Naomi said.

"Those words came from what I witnessed last night."

 She told Genjiro about last night at the Stars and Stripes bar.

"Hey, unbelievable," Genjiro said.

"I can't believe it, either, I can't believe it. I time slip," Naomi said.

"Well, I guess I believe it. You are serious. These are words that you wouldn't come up unless you had seen such a scene. But it's amazing, time slip back in time to the Vietnam War era," Genjiro understood that Naomi was telling the truth.

"But why did I go back in time like that?" It's kind of weird," Naomi said, feeling uncomfortable in her position.

"Maybe there was some kind of mission that made you travel through time and space," said Genjiro.

"Mission?" asked Naomi.

"There should be something you need to tell them when you meet the soldiers who are going to Vietnam? " Genjiro replied.

"But why should I, fifty years into the future, have to do that?" said Naomi.

"Well, I'm sure there are things that only a person from the future can do. Because if you are a person of the future, you know the consequence of events," said Genjiro.

"What's that?" asked Naomi.

"It's like the Vietnam War," Genjiro said.

"Hey, I want to know more about the Vietnam War, and maybe I need to tell the Americans about the Vietnam War," Naomi said.

 "Yes, there's a good documentary about the Vietnam War. There's a video on the internet. Why don't you watch it? You can download the video of the program to your smartphone. To be able to watch it even if it crosses time and space."

 The documentary program that Genjiro recommended was a program produced by an American television station more than two decades after the end of the Vietnam War. The 20-minute video was all in English, but it was also subtitled for broadcast on Japan, so Naomi could understand the details well.

  Words such as the Indochina War, Godin Jem regime, Ho Chi Minh City, South Vietnam Liberation Front, Gulf of Tonkin Incident, North Vietnam bombings, Search and Destroy Depression, Tet Offensive, Defoliants, Dr. King, My Lai Village Massacre, Chicago riots, Pentagon Peipers, Fall of Saigon, Apocalypse Now, Platoon, Born on July 4, etc. An important and well-known song for a singer like Naomi, We Shall Overcome!

  Surely this was the history of the Vietnam War!


To be continued to Chapter 8


21:24 Posted in Music, My novel | Permalink | Comments (0)

16 August 2022

Novel: "Henoko Bar, Stars and Stripes" Chapter 6 "Amazing Grace"

In Henoko, Nago City, Okinawa Prefecture, shaken by the issue of the construction of a new U.S. military base, a female singer time slips to the time in the midst of the Vietnam War. What is the Henoko New Base Problem? What is the Vietnam War? What is America? What is Okinawa?


A short story in 9 chapters. Each chapter features famous songs from Japan, the United States and Okinawa.


Please read from Chapter 1.


Genjiro said.

"The Vietnam War, it's a sabotage of US imperialism's imposition of its own justice. Originally, Vietnam was an independent dynasty, but it was colonized by France in the nineteenth century, and after World War II, it was divided into north and south in the place of national independence, and the north side became a socialist country, so the United States was to support South Vietnam to prevent the spread of communism from China.

But the South Vietnamese government is a dictatorship that oppressed its people, A force was formed in South Vietnam that sought unification with the North, and in the 1960s the United States intervened militarily to suppress the rebels in North Vietnam and South Vietnam.


They carried out air strikes against North Vietnam, and in South Vietnam they sent troops into the tropical jungle to crush the forces allied with the North, but the opponents were more formidable than expected. The U.S. military attacked with the latest weapons, but the Vietnamese risked their lives to defend their country and received arms support from the then communist powers of China and the Soviet Union.

On the other hand, the U.S. military was forced to fight in South Vietnam, which they think allies, where they could not see the difference between enemy and ally, and attacked villages of people whom they thought suspicious anyway, which aroused more and more popular antipathy, and the war between the North and the South had turned into a war between Vietnam and the United States.


The U.S. tried to save the face of the nation by recruiting its own young people and sending them to the battlefield one after another, but the death toll only increased, and if it could not win, the anti-war movement in the country rose and the soldiers were withdrawn, and finally, South Vietnam collapsed in 1975.

Therefore, Vietnam became a socialist country in which North and South Korea achieved national reunification. It was a fiasco war for the United States."


Genjiro knew everything as she expected.


"A lot of American soldiers died, didn’t they?"


Naomi said, remembering Jimmy and Tony.


"Oh, it is said that 50,000 soldiers died on the U.S. military side. But on the Vietnamese side, two million soldiers and civilians were killed. It's not just people who have died.

In order to gain the upper hand in jungle warfare, defoliants were scattered from the sky to destroy the environment, and the harmful substances of defoliants still afflict the Vietnamese people by causing the birth of deformed babies and the like.

After the Vietnam War, the U.S. stopped using the tactic of sending many troops ashore, but it has always fought wars involving civilians as collateral damage for the sake of a cause. You know what's going on in Iraq and Afghanistan."


She was impressed by how smoothly Genjiro spoke. Naomi said.


"Hey, there were a lot of American soldiers coming to Henoko, weren't there?"


"Oh, because Schwab is a training ground for recruits. At the time of the Vietnam War, Okinawa was under American rule, so Okinawa was a hub for the Vietnam War. In the villages in the north, they used the villagers for combat training that regarded them as enemy forces in Vietnam, so much so that they used the entire island as a training ground for war," Genjiro spoke in an irritated tone.


"But these bars were lucrative because American soldiers came," Naomi said.


"Oh, because if you go to a war zone, you don't know when you're going to die, so you're going to spend all your money and drink it up, so it's a lot of money for a restaurant. Also, the Vietnam War was a good opportunity for Okinawa to return to Japan. The Japan government supported the United States in the Vietnam War and left the base and allowed it to be used freely after the return as a trade-off for the return. So even if it was reverted to Japan, Okinawa is still occupied by U.S. military bases."


Genjiro said in an angry tone.


Okinawa was returned to the Japan in 1972, before the end of the Vietnam War. Before that, Okinawa continued to be separated from the mainland and under U.S. military occupation even after Japan was relieved of its occupation by the U.S. Army in 1952 by the San Francisco Peace Treaty and became independent.

That was what she learnt in history class. That period was when the Japan constitution and laws were not in place. Naomi wondered if she could do something more for Genjiro, native Okinawan who inherited such history. She wanted to stay with Genjiro tonight. Naomi's body heated from within.


Genjiro's smartphone rang. Genjiro talked on the phone about a minute. After he ended talking, he said to Naomi.


"I'm sorry, I can't have a drink with you, I'm going to have an emergency meeting with my buddies. So I'm going back to the inn. Bye," and ran towards the inn.


Genjiro seemed to be more interested in anti-base activities than Naomi. She was left alone. Her excitement was gone and turned disappointment.


Naomi didn't feel like drinking alone. However, she knew that even if she went to a bar where locals gathered in this Henoko village, she would not be welcome, so she thought about going back to the inn herself. Genjiro was not going to join her because he would be in a meeting with his buddies.


As she started to walk away from the Stars and Stripes building, she heard a rustling sound from the building. It's the same as last night. She approached the entrance door and placed her hand on the knob and turn it. It was open. Inside was a bar full of the same American soldiers as last night and the night before last.


It was locked and quiet until just now. The door opened as if to lure her being left alone outside. She wondered what lured her beyond time and space? She looked up and saw Kenny at the counter. He was sitting at the counter and was making drinks for the American soldiers. From a distance, he looked like a cute bartender. Naomi approached happily.


"Good evening, Kenny," Naomi greeted.


"Hey, Sister, it's been a week," Kenny said. Has a week passed here? For Naomi, it was last night.


"Do you drink anything?" asked Kenny.


"Well, do you have a gin and tonic?" said Naomi.


"Yes," Kenny said, and Naomi said to him, remembering something.


"Oh, yes, I think I forgot to get the Sanshin claw back the other day, but do you still have it?"


Naomi said. She thought it wasn't a big deal, but She remembered it, so she asked.


"Oh, yes, I forgot to give it back. There is. I've kept it on the shelf, so I'll take it," Kenny said.


"Oh, if you're busy right now, you can do it later, it's not a big deal, so you can give it back anytime," Naomi said, smiling at Kenny. She watched him thinking that it would be really interesting if he were to become a big man in Okinawa one day. She didn’t know that such a cute boy might become a prefectural governor.


"Naomi, it's nice to see you again," Jimmy approached.


"Hey, Jimmy, how are you doing?" Naomi said affectionately to Jimmy.


"It's great, there's nothing better than a post-training drink," Jimmy says, sipping his beer with gusto. It's a good atmosphere, Naomi thought. And


"Hey, how's Tony doing?" asked Naomi curiously. Naomi was impressed last night that he's a different type of guy than Jimmy, but he also had the honesty to argue so much and eventually get to know anyone.


"Oh, he was supposed to come with me, but all of a sudden our supevisor called him. Well, he said he'd join us here when it’s done, so we’ll see him later," Jimmy said.


Just then, they heard the door bang and open violently. It was so violently opened that those who were inside turned their attention to the door. A blonde young man entered. He stepped in heavily.


"Come on, Tony, let's have a drink together," Jimmy called out, but Tony was expressionless.


If one looked at him closely, Tony's face was very red. Did something happen? Everyone fell silent. Tony approached the counter and walked over to Jimmy's side.


"What's the matter, Tony?" Did something happen?"


Tony said with a stiff face.


"Joe is dead."


"Is Joe your brother?" asked Jimmy.


"Yes," Tony said.


Naomi remembered last night in a daze. Joe was Tony's older brother and a soldier whom the American soldiers here adore.


"I just heard that Joe was killed in Vietnam."


Jimmy's face froze at Tony's words. The American soldiers around them also froze in surprise. In an instant, the bar fell silent.


"It is a lie, it shouldn’t be true. A soldier like Joe was dead," Jimmy said with a shudder.


"It's true, he was killed by the Viet Cong!" Tony shouted, tears streaming down his eyes.


The young American soldiers around him were also fidgeting. Each spoke words of thought.


"Oh my god, how could such a super-strong guy like Joe be killed?"


"Didn't we underestimate the enemy too much?"


"What are we doing this war for in the first place? Are South Vietnamese our side? "


"There's a lot of anti-war movement in our country, we are sure there's no way to win, how are we going to fight against the enemy we can't distinguish from our side?"


"Hey, don't say that, our superiors tell us. Don't think about it and move according to orders."


"Yes, then drink here, let's drink and forget. If you go to the battlefield, that's it. We've got to do anything we want before then."


The young U.S. soldiers say and throw dollar bills into the drum. The master at the counter poured more and more liquor and hands it to the American soldiers. Kenny and Naomi stared stunned as they watched Tony keep his face down and a large tear streaming down his face. The counter table is wet with tears. Jimmy put a hand on Tony's shoulder with equally teary eyes. He had a very sad expression.


On the other hand, the master was unfazed. He poured liquor into glasses snappily as if he thought he was making a lot of money from this, and followed one after the other. He didn't seem to care about Tony's grief.


Naomi was stunned. It was exactly what Genjiro was saying. They had no choice but to do this because they did not know when they would die if they went to the battlefield. What a cruel fate!


Naomi looked at Tony who couldn't stop crying and wondered if she could do something. What to do? She wondered if she could somehow comfort him in the depths of his grief.


Naomi came up with a song and headed to the live stage. She didn't need an instrument. Just her singing voice. It was a great song she learned when she was in England. In Europe and the United States, songs are played and songs at funerals. She knew it was also sung at the funeral of an American president.


Amazing Grace. It is a song about worshipping God written by a Christian pastor named John Newton in England.

Naomi stood in front of the microphone and sang.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound

That saved the wretch like me


I once was lost now I found

Was blind but now I see


Towards grace that taught my heart to fear

And grace my fear relieved


How precious did that grace appear

The hour I first believed


Through many dangers

toils and snares

I have already come


'Tis grace hath brought me

safe thus far

And grace will lead me home


Naomi's beautiful voice echoed through the bar, and the American soldiers stopped drinking and fell silent attracted to her voice. Jimmy and Kenny looked at Naomi and sang along with her.


Naomi sang more.


Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound

That saved the wretch like me


I once was lost now I found

Was blind but now I see


Tony lifted his head from the counter table. He looked at Naomi on the stage. His face was dried up after large amount of tears streamed down.


Naomi looked back at Tony with a little relief. Naomi stopped singing. Inside the bar was still big silence. Tony pulled out a dollar bill from his pocket. He placed the dollar bill on the counter. The pen was in the box on the counter, so he took it out and wrote something. It was his name.


He approached the board hanging on the wall where the dollar bills were pinned. He removed one of the pins that had been nailed into the edge of the board, slammed his own dollar bill against the board, and stabbed the pin into the middle of the dollar bill.


Tony said loudly.


"I'm going to Vietnam to crush the Communists."


Tony ran to the door and out of the bar. Jimmy followed.


Kenny stared at them from the counter. Naomi stared at the scene and stood still when the master approached her.


"What the hell, are you doing? Singing an out-of-place song!"


Naomi walked off the stage in a daze and Jimmy and Tony got worried and opened the bar door and walked out. Naomi was moved and felt palpitations.


Outside, it was quiet Henoko in 2018. But Naomi still had palpitations.


To be continued to Chapter 7

22:50 Posted in Music, My novel | Permalink | Comments (0)

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