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American Trophies

During the 19th century foreign nationals had lived in the best parts of Yokohama, up  in the hills of Uchikoshi and Yamato, away from common Japanese folks.   The soul of the nation was ruptured during this period in Japanese history because of it.    

Foreigners brought with them their religion, their education, their national identity, and their language, and for no other reason but to colonize the minds of ignorant Japanese people.   The  idea of Christmas and Christian values are deeply intrenched within the mindset of the Japanese, more so than what they actually admit.  The most exciting place on earth for Halloween is Shibuya in downtown Tokyo.   

A century after Yokohama opened its  ports, the cultural landscape of the nation has undergone immense change.    The city of Yokohama has its vibrancy, but its roots are  somehow lost in the gulag of the soul.   War guilt, shame, ignorance, and self loathing just to name a few. Then there's the denial of the past which destroys the soul.

Black ships sailed through here
 Mishima Yukio’s famous novel The Sailor Who Fell from Grace by the Sea is set mostly in Yokohama.  The story outlines the development of the city’s architecture through Western influence.   The birthplace of tennis  in Japan was in Yokohama.   

Mainstream Japanese aim to either emulate or appease the hordes of foreign indigents  and dignitaries because they somehow sanctify their creative endeavors to be just like them, the foreigner.  Japan imports everything from almost every country, and then tries to reinvent, repackage, and market the import as a Japanese innovation.  Port Hill Yokohama, Minato Mieru Park, and so many other non-essential Japanese monuments and places of mention have been erected in honor of Western influence.  

In return, foreigners took with them  Japanese brides and made them less Japanese by destroying their soul.  The greatest lie is the denial of this split between' We Japanese' and' I am a Proud Japanese' because I marry outside of my race is one of the greatest contradictions in Japanese history.   When a 72 year old Japanese man embraces defeat, like so many have, and all while disregarding the sacrifice of his own brethren is one of the greatest travesties of the Japanese soul in the history of this nation.

Yokohama is a showpiece city and it is replete with everything a foreign national could want.   Home away from home, sort of like Okinawa.   Sixty years later this all that’s left to show.   300 yen Lamb cutlets, fish & chips, and pretzels.  

Every year, in Japan there’s a day called Culture Day, and it is held on November 3rd.   This day commemorates Japan’s post war constitution.  The actual significance of Culture Day was for the Emperor Meiji, but was changed.  On this day you can expect to see cultural exhibitions from all over Japan.   Foreign nationals will often set up stalls to sell their own national cuisines and dress up in their costumes and carry on like it’s their national holiday.

I wasn’t so keen on the event, although they did have hot dog and yakitori, and I did help myself, I was a little distraught at the lack of Japanese cultural exhibits in Yokohama.   Maybe there was a costume parade somewhere in Yokohama.     I was expecting something along the lines of Japanese cooking demonstrations, or maybe even a martial arts demonstration.   Culture Day is a Japanese holiday.  

Maybe the historical references associated with Suribachi, or maybe even how the seasons match well with Japanese tea and confectionary.  For me,  it’s  that time of year again when it’s time to bring on the hot sake and the oden( a broth soup with vegetables).  It's time to ready the kotatsu( low table with a heating element).  It's time to slow down and take in all the fall foliage and to relish in the changing of the seasons.  I saw none of that on this day in Yokohama.   The Japanese suribachi is called ' mortar & pestle' in English and often times pharmacies will have this as their symbol.   It is a grinder.  I like fresh sesame seeds ground down to a fine powder, and I like adding that to sesame sauce to give it that extra oomph, or to Japanese spinach for that extra added texture.   I saw none of that on this day in Yokohama.

Suribachi ware gets its name from Iwo Jima’s Mount Suribachi a dormant volcano.   It is here that so many Japanese men died by the hand of the U.S. Marines during one of the most fierce battles in war history.    Many American soldiers had died as well.  But, it is also here where President Roosevelt tacitly  approved the dismemberment and brutality wrought upon the Japanese forces, even those that had surrendered.   

Interesting note here.  Japanese have always been accused of mutilating dead corpses, and in many instances taking them home as war trophies.   But history tells a different tale, one that cannot be denied.   American forces had mutilated hundreds of Japanese soldier, of whom many were still alive.   It wasn’t uncommon in 1944 to mail fingers, noses, and even skulls back home as war trophies.   Nobody condemns America for such barbarism.

Suribashi Mountain

I am left still wondering what the significants of Culture Day really means?   But one things for sure, it is not here in Yokohama.   It is an American War Trophy.  

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