Friday, August 05, 2005
Who is this guy Tamori?
The alarm clock broke again, and so I woke up too late, almost afternoon. That screwed up my sleep schedule, as I wanted to wake up early tomorrow. But interestingly enough turned on the TV and saw Tamori. He is a comedian whose trademark is wearing dark sunglasses. He is on a TV show every weekday afternoon called “waratte ii tomo,” good clean fun for the entire family. But what freaks me out is that last night, when I came home, while channel surfing through late night Japanese TV (which, although there is still no nudity, tends to be a bit more risqué on subject matter than daytime TV), and saw a TV show on the history of adult entertainment in Japan. And who was the emcee, but no other than Tamori himself! Here is a picture I took of him on that adult themed late night show. Imagine Regis Philbin on late night TV doing a special like that. I took pictures of the TV last night, and then waited for the afternoon show to come on to give you an idea.
As I was about to leave the apartment, I could hear the loud beating of drums. After I threw away the trash outdoors, I saw a procession of people with a cart in tow, and a van that had an inscription in Japanese to protect the pacifist Article 9 of the constitution (which renounces war as an instrument of foreign policy. According to the news later that day, it was the Stone walk or something like that according to the news. Peace activists, one of them a 9-11 victim family, participated. I saw her on TV apologize on behalf of Americans for the atomic bombings. Like I said, tell people in Koreatown or Chinatown that you are apologizing for them.
Anyway, there have been lots of news specials on the A-bomb, and a very good documentary on why the bomb was dropped. It recreated the debates among top policy makers and showed the split in opinions among American policymakers at the time as to whether dropping the bomb was a good policy. They also showed survivors of the A-bomb telling their very poignant and sad stories. One woman remembered hearing her kids screaming for help from beneath the house that collapsed on them, but she could not rescue them, and had to suffer knowing that the fires would burn them alive.
We all got into a rather animated discussion of the war at dinner, and I pointed out that Japan is not seen as the victim of the war in most parts of Asia. It was a wide-ranging discussion, and could be an emotional topic, so I had to choose my words carefully. People weighed in on their views. I asked why there was so little anti-American sentiment in Hiroshima, and Kazuhiro laughed and said, “It’s because we Japanese are such a fine people.” Aunty told me that probably life was so harsh during the war, and got better under the Americans, so the people have no bitterness. Compare with Iraq, where life has turned terrible for many Iraqis, and so they regard the Americans as occupiers. I found out that Aunty felt angry towards the Soviets the most, as they had a neutrality pact with the Japanese and backstabbed them by entering the war. Also, tens of thousands of Japanese died in Soviet captivity AFTER the war, a fact little known throughout the world.
The news special continued after dinner. It showed a chilling reenactment of the dropping of the bomb using computer graphics. Then they tried some confrontational journalism. They brought in a retired college professor, who was a developer of the atomic bomb, and also a crewmember on a B-29 that participated in the atomic bombing. They had him visit the Peace Park Museum, and then later had him meet two bombing survivors. They demanded an apology from him, and he refused, angrily telling them, “Remember Pearl Harbor” and told the survivors that if they want an apology, they should ask it from the Japanese military who led them into the war. Later on, the younger co-host expressed shock that the man would refuse to apologize for such a horrendous bombing, but the older news host said that outside of Japan, many people feel the bombing justified because of what Japan did in China and Korea.
I walked home and started typing this blog while watching more news. I better go to sleep, but I see on TV a Japanese singer singing live in front of the A-bomb. Maybe I should get minimal sleep and go to the Peace Park.
Anyway, Aunty told me to put a picture of my dead relatives on the blog, so here it is. In Japan, people put a picture of the deceased on a wall next to the Buddhist altar at home so that you will always remember them.