Beauty & the Beast Japanese Style
Cherry Blossom in the wake of Nuclear Disaster
There has to be a lesson to be learnt when you meekly leave your Tokyo residence and join the Japanese families celebrating the first blossoming of the cherry trees. Even when the future is so uncertain and pregnant mothers fear for the health of their unborn children, families gathered this weekend in Ueno Park, neatly marked their picnicking space and made an attempt to declare business as usual.
Not far from the beautifully path of Cherry trees, the Ueno Zoo proudly displayed their latest acquisition, a pair of pandas. Organized lines, like you can only find in Japan, led the avid animal lovers and their children into the park in a festive fashion that was almost surreal. If this wasn’t enough, a major exhibition of Surrealistic art, from the Paris Pompidou Center is currently on display at the Tokyo National Art Center.
The Japanese Times, this morning, printed this cartoon which seemed to me to perfectly sum up the situation.
Is it pure coincidence that the infamous Godzilla beast, Japans answer at the time to King Kong, contains the word God in its name. Japan is a country whose animation has taken on an existence of its own. There are whole multi floor chain stores dedicated to every imaginable form. Perhaps it is the black shadow of Hiroshima or the country’s long history of natural disasters that have pushed it to extremes. Returning to the Cherry Blossom, it is an event that lasts a only a few days but excites millions of picnickers year in and year out. As a Gaijin, the Japanese word for foreigner, I fear I can only look on with admiration at the courage of the people of this great nation.
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