I watched the live video of Obama's Speech though it was midnight in Japan. It might have deteriorated through the simultaneous interpretation, I didn't think it was so impressive or encouraging. After I read the whole script on the Internet, my impression didn't change at all. Sure, I can't fully understand what he is saying, but it's not the major reason for my bad feeling. His speech started after hugging Bush. There was no apology to the world, especially to the thousand victims in the Middle East countries. It seemed that he is only looking inside the America, which must be called selfish. The United States are still overwhelmingly powerful and strong in the world. They must have the "responsibility" not only to themselves but also to the whole world. By the way, I also watched a news report in which Obama started his first job today. He is said to have called the leaders of four countries in the Middle East. I don't know what he said to them but something will "change" in the near future, hopefully to the better direction.
The news of the airplane crash into Hudson River was really impressive for me. I have watched the news report on CNN many times. It's literally a miracle of Hudson River because no one was killed in the crash. They all must have been lucky, but the end would have been opposite without the daily preparation and training of pilots, cabin attendants and other rescue people on the ferries and helicopters. I remember my flight training in Canada. Sure, I did practice emergency training many times, but I had never learnt to land on water surface because it is as hard and critical as concrete surface for airplanes flying in high speed. Pilots are taught to "land" in case of emergency, but it was in N.Y. this time. The pilot must have made an ultimate decision in a very short time. He is really a hero. It is reported that this accident was not a man-made disaster but a bird-made disaster. I think it is a perfect story because no one was evil in this crash. A lot of American must have been encouraged by this accident thinking "We are not so bad." It would be great if this news becomes the trigger for them to get back their confidence and pride.
This is a newspaper clipping today, the first day of 2009. (Actually, it is not a newspaper but an electric-newspaer on the iPhone.) The chart depicts the transition of Japan's population. The red line is the number of new born babies in each year and the blue one is those of died people. Sure, the horizontal axis is the year; the number 22 on the left bottom means Showa 22 in the Japanese era which is equal to 1947 and the 20 on the right bottom means Heisei 20 which is equal to 2008. The number 300 on the top left depicts 3 million people. What can be read from this chart is that Japan's population has been decreasing for these thirty years. While the natural increasing of died people, the decreasing of new born babies is radical. That is said to be a big problem in our country and a special minister has been assigned to solve it but in vain. There are a lot of reasons for that, but everyone of them looks difficult to solve in a short time. In my opinion, it's impossible to increase the population in the next century without mass immigration, but it will be more difficult for us to accept so many foreigners. We had better think about the way to run our country more effectively with a smaller number of young generations and a larger number of aged people. Therefore, the most important thing needed right now is good education and welfare for old people. Unfortunately, both of them are in terrible situations in Japan. Anyway, the remarkable drop of new born children in Showa 41 e.g. 1966 is called "Hinoe Uma" which is the ancient rumor saying "girls born in this year are going to kill their husband." Hinoe Uma comes every 60 years and the next one is 2026.
August 6th is the day when an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima for the first time in human history. However, most Japanese people are not even aware of this special day and few people claim or do anything on this day. I'm sorry but I am not the exception. The anniversary event held in Hiroshima seems to be a formality. Sure, insisting to blame for the old thing is not creative, but the bomb must not be such a small thing which can be forgotten only in 60 years. The United States should apologize us about the holocaust and we should do the same thing about the Pearl Harbor. I think it is a good idea that the U.S. President visit Hiroshima while Japanese Prime Minister visit the Pearl Harbor. If we harmed someone we naturally have to apologize. It is the basic rule for good friendship between people. As nations consist of such people, the same rule should stand right. The current relationship between the U.S. and Japan is sometimes called "alliance" which is very weird.
It was four days ago when I mentioned about earthquakes in my last article, and today, we had a huge earthquake in Iwate, the north part of Honshu Island. Fortunately -- of course it's not fortunate for the people who suffered from the disaster -- but I dare to say "fortunately" to the most people living in a dense city such as Tokyo, the devastated area is rather remote and therefore the damage was rather small against the energy of the earth quake. I really scare to imagine if it was in Tokyo, but no one can deny the possibility that the next is Tokyo. In my feeling, huge disaster repeats itself in a short period. It is just like the bubbles of boiled water which burst one after another. I can't believe there are some people who scheme to invite the Olympic Games to Tokyo. It's suicide to gather people into Tokyo any more.
It is my birthday week, but it is also one of the most cursed weeks in the year for Japanese drivers. The spring traffic safety campaign is held by police every year all around the country and quite a few drivers and riders are caught. If you drove now just in the usual manner, you would possibly be accused falsely by the officer deployed every block. Actually my past violation records are concentrated in this season when the warm weather best for riding comes. This rider in a blue uniform and on a white motorcycle is called "Shiro-bi" which means white motorcycle in Japanese. He is the worst enemy for us good citizens; he hides on a back alley, aims at an unhappy driver out of caprice, chases him or her at much faster speed than his prey and easily catches it. I think it is the only way to avoid this damage from him not to drive in this week in Japan.
It is reported that the Olympic-Torch relay was mixed up in London and Paris. Flame-bearers were often stopped by a lot of obstructions and especially in Paris, the fire was distinguished twice despite the tight security by the Government of France. The torch was protected by dozens of armored vehicles, hundreds of police officers in roller blades and police motorcycles. It looked ridiculous and over-investment, but was not enough because the fire was actually distinguished. It is impossible that the exaggerated security couldn't protect only a tiny torch. I guess it was a crime of conscience or a sharp esprit by French people including the Government. The fire might have been distinguished deliberately. The fact that the fire as the symbol of peace could not be protected by the arms impressed the world and the more people are getting critical to the Chinese attitude towards Tibetans. If the Chinese attitude would change by these incidents, it can be said that the Olympic was made use of world peace.
Late this morning when I was sleeping in my bed, I heard a woman cried something in foreign language. It was like the cheers for the runners I often heard on Sunday morning of a running race in Vancouver, but it wasn't. A few minutes later, I was awoken by my mother. She said, "It's a fire!" I got up and looked out of the window. The next next old wooden apartment was just on fire. It was so close and the fire grew so rapidly with black smoke that I was scared and thought about an evacuation. I had never seen a real fire in such short distance. Fortunately, some fire engines arrived minutes later and the fire was soon put out. The firemen looked very dependable, but unfortunately, an old woman allegedly died in this fire. It's such a common saying but we have to be careful with fire.
The gas price in Japan has become 150 yen per litter which is the historical record. Somebody even says that the price is possibly going up more and more. Japan is very weak in this situation because it has no natural resources including oil. All we have to do is just waiting for the price to come back lower. As I mainly use a small motorcycle instead of a car, the high oil price does not affect my wallet so much; I pay around 1,000 yen at the highest for gas every month. The only direct problem for me is that some of the gas stations in my neighborhood have closed down. It's difficult to find them and I have to take care not to run out of gas especially at Sunday night because most of the survived gas stations are closed.
A Japanese news photographer was killed in Burma this Friday. He was just taking a video of the monks' and citizens' demonstration which was dispersed by the military. It was reported at first that he was hit by a stray bullet, but the video released through the Internet a few hours later clearly showed what had really happened. He was intentionally shot at close range by a soldier of the military regime. The scene in which he was hit and flew backward into the street was too shocking and terrible. However, the attitude of Japanese government looks too cool and gentle so far. Why don't they get more angry and complain about the cruel murder. Is this the way of Japanese diplomacy? A Japanese Prime Minister said decades ago that a man's life is heavier than the earth and released terrorists and hijackers from jail to North Korea. It was the story decades ago, but the Prime Minister was the father of the present Japanese Prime Minister and the son looks too gentle to the Myanmar's military regime though a life of a Japanese, which should be heavier than the earth, was taken in such a cruel manner. Furthermore, no countries in the world do not act directly to help the Burma people. Can we overlook if a mother and her children ask for a help from a violent father? I am really disappointed at the so called Japanese and international diplomacy.