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August: The Return of Souls

August is peak summer season in Japan.  We can look forward to some of the most spectacular fireworks displays and festivals in the world, ...

Japan Country

( B/W film, 125, 400, red filter, Olympus IZ-20)
This shot of an old wooden storage shack was taken somewhere along the West Coast of Japan, the Pacific Ocean side.

From where this wooden shack stands, tucked away in a grassy meadow, there are numerous small residences spread far apart from each other, many of which have only one occupant; perhaps an elderly person or two. They all own huge plots of land according to Japanese standards.
Even in this slow paced environment people still wake up at the crack of dawn to toil away in the fields. Most people out here get out of bed at 4:30a.m. sharp everyday. They eat a nice Japanese style breakfast, read a newspaper then head out to the garden and work until lunch. After lunch they head back out until dinner and then they call it a day at around 10p.m.

I recall one day while I was relaxing in an onsen in Nagano during this time of year, Autumn. Two older Japanese gentlemen entered in and greeted me. One of them asked me what I had thought about the place. I said that I was in love with it, the nature and the natural raw rugged beauty of the Nagano Alps.

 A burst of laughter came out of both of them over my ridiculous comment. They told me that I should come and live with them for six months during winter, that way I could shovel snow for them at 4:30a.m. every single day until early spring. I guess I must’ve been looking at things through rose colored glasses….

It’s amazing how Tokyoites and working holiday travelers have the same opinions about foreign countries and city life.    Most kids get bored living in the country, so they move to the big city and the only thing that has changed is their attitude and the way they dress everyday.  They work just as hard, make more money but are more stressed out and less happy, and most of all, less sexual and more ignorant of the sublime beauty of life at home, even with its ups and downs and 4:30am wake up calls.

The working holiday traveler( Japanese female) has more opportunities abroad than here at home. She has a lot of reasons for leaving Japan, one reason being is that there are few men left in her native homeland. Most of the Japanese men here have all evolved into herbivore types ( new term to mean fag, queer, or homo – let nobody tell you any different term for this).  Many lack any sense of moral responsibility for the country, and have no sense of patriotism, nor accountability for the future of the nation. It’s not hard to understand why a Japanese woman would be desperate for a real man in another country – they’re just thirsting for testosterone!

Unfortunately, most Japanese women think that somehow by learning and mastering English their lives will improve drastically. This most often is not true, and is what also fuels their drive to learn more English. Some of the most unhappy and confused Japanese men(?) and women are the ones who have acquired near fluency in Western languages. They spend years trying to make sense out of being Japanese and Western all the time. Common sense should tell them that it’s impossible to truly merge both mind sets into one whole.

The Iron Laws of history repeat itself time and time again.   Eastern and Western thought cannot merge. They can agree on a set of terms, but never be merged completely into one whole consciousness. Stubbornness prevails more often than not in Japan I guess.

(“The house is burning.   Girl says, “ I don’t believe you.” )

In the end, you work hard your whole life no matter where you choose to live. The city life destroys the soul, the rigors of country life destroys the imagination.  I have succeeded in merging both my soul and imagination into one whole beauty, one whole concept.  These two elements merged will serve you better.   My whole heart and mind is in Japan, not split between two countries and two different sets of ideologies.


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