Thursday, March 29, 2012

Apocalypse Now

I seldom get overly political here. Mostly this is a blog of personal parables. It's my way of providing a temporary distraction and maybe another perspective of things we all experience in one way or another.

I've been thinking a lot about a post apocalyptic times. Not the end times, but a time where what we hoped for is revealed as a tarnished dream.

The archetype of this found in movies is often that of a small but powerful upper class, consumed with the idea of personal wealth and comfort, but little else with all others in a kind of survival mode. Their dystopian existence is only a shadow of what generations before them had.

In the movies and literature, there is often a catalyst that brings on these times. But sometimes, woven into the stories is the sense of a slippery slope, that things began to slide, that apathy was fostered with manufactured outrage, and that the state of disfunction was a goal.

What makes me think of this now, is what I see in politics. And it makes me wonder how many will be willing to claw their way up a slope not slanted in their favour.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Japanese Morning TV

One of my favorite things in Japan is morning television. Morning shows in Japan only last about 15 minutes each, presumably so one doesn't have to miss the end of a show when they rush out to catch the train. The shows are an interesting combination of the absurd, the useful and the informative.

The channel I watch includes a morning exercise program where pretty girls in leotards lead the audience in a series of movements that involve lots of arm swinging and deep knee bends to a cheerful piano accompaniment.

That's followed by an angry looking bunny that explains the meaning behind acronyms such as IMF, OPEC and APEC. There's a cooking show with a girl dressed as Strawberry Shortcake, the doll not the dessert, and then comes what my younger son calls the Cabbage Patch Kids. Their show is a series of shorts and skits that on this morning included an animated tour of internal organs.

Everything is presented with a cheerful tone and an abundance of cuteness. It might seem silly, but it beats the gossip ridden excuse for morning television in the United States.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Situation New Normal

I returned to Japan yesterday, one year to the day after a devastating earthquake and tsunami changed the island nation forever. I arrived at Narita International Airport a couple of hours before millions of Japanese bowed their heads in remembrance around 3:00 PM. To me, it seemed to be situation New Normal. I couldn't help but notice that just as they had that day, flights were scheduled for Sendai Airport which has already been rebuilt enough to accomodate commercial traffic.

The Sendai region remains in recovery. News reports on Japanese television showed the clean up progress that now requires disposing mountains of debris. The images are just as jarring as the initial destruction.

As for my family, they continue with their own version of Japanese normal, with one exception. The kids go to school, their dad goes to work, but when they get home, they will likely be greeted by Archie. Archie originally came to us as a foster. He was found among the debris in the Sendai region. When we got him, he had been on his own for a couple of months. He was very thin and very dirty.

While we hoped that he would be reunited with his family one day, they were never located. So now he lives with us. He's a good kitty. He likes to hunt feet and cries incessantly when he wants attention.

I can't help but think that overall, we've been moving towards a New Normal. So many things have changed in the world since the turn of the century. It makes me wonder if a post apocalypse world is something that actually happens gradually, without us even noticing it.