Remember this old fracas a few years ago? In a nutshell, a Japanese muslim found my site Talk Islam and revealed a very ugly side of Japanese nationalism that I had never really known about before. He really got set off y a pretty reasonable comment by Steven, and eventually left promising never to return. Well, he returned, promising a more temperate mindset about the Chinese people. However, he has resumed denying the Nanking Massacre ever occurred, which frankly is new to me. I rank this up with Armenian and Holocaust genocide denial, but the depth to which he as a Japanese nationalist believes that his nation was incapable of such atrocities is astounding. He argues poorly but I’ve seen that same mindset before, in response to 9-11 of course being the main example.
Anyway, just though I’d mention it here, despite it straying uncomfortably close to the political line I try to avoid at all costs.
So, how do you explain the nuclear disaster to children, without overly alarming them but still trying to convey some sense of the seriousness of the event? Naturally, you make anime – and replace radiation with “poo”.
I am reminded of this video I shot on a television screen in a department store in Shinjuku five years ago:
I was politely, but firmly, discouraged from taling more video than this, thankfully. Like Cthulhu, seeing more might have destroyed my soul. I can only shudder at the thought of what horrific disaster that video was trying to explain.
It’s basically what would happen if you took an American Big Mac and exposed it to nuclear radiation – it’s godzilla as applied to burgers. This thing must really skew the heck out of the Big Mac Index.
I am aghast with sheer envy. Not just at the rates, but also at the concise use of descriptive graphs to assist you in choosing a cell phone plan:
the rates top out at 14,600 yen, equal to $133/month. Thats really not bad, considering you also get a handset that is superior to the best of the US-based handsets in just about every way. Can you buy a coke with your iphone?
In Dennou Coil, Kyoko (age 3) has a penchant for running about, pointing at things, and exclaiming, “unchi!” (poop):
This is fairly accurate as far as a characterization of 3-year old humor goes. By that logic, the Himeji City Museum of Literature, in Himeji, Japan (near Osaka) was until May of this year the funniest place in the universe. This is because the museum, inexplicably, had an exhibit devoted to poop:
Everybody come and play! Come and look! We have poop books!
Rabbit: Itâ€™s poop time!
Gorilla: Come and see my poop too!
Elephant: Animal poop is here yo!
See it. Touch it! Smell it! Explore!
Can you guess what animals made this poop? (3 pictures)
Himeji Museum Of Literature, Special Exhibit. April 1st-May 18th
Head over to thomas’s post at Babelhut and see for yourself. It is in fact not only exactly what it seems to be, but in fact even more so than you think it would be. Fear the Japanese, indeed. Though it must be admitted that were this exhibit to come to any children’s museum in the United States, it would make more money than the mind can comfortably comprehend.
Over at Talk Islam, I started a somewhat speculative discussion thread about parallels to the samurai code and islamic values. To be perfectly frank, the idea came to me from watching Samurai 7 – not exactly a divine fount of inspiration, admittedly. What surprised me however was a response in thread by a Japanese muslim, who left a lengthy and quite insightful comment about his perception of what Japanese society has lost since WWII and how Japan as a society has strayed from the ideals of Bushido and how Shintoism has become emptied of meaning. His castigation of superficial pursuits in Japanese culture which in his opinion have dislodged the traditional beliefs is quite moving. It’s worth a read, for a truly unique perspective. I share it with you, not to promote my religion but more for the insights into Japanese culture that I think it provides.