Thursday, December 7, 2006

As Promised

Nagoya-jo (Nagoya Castle) Nagoya is a city of a lot of promising historical sites for those who are interested in feudal Japanese history. Well, that would be the case if World War II had not happened, and if the fire bombing of 73 Japanese cities including Nagoya hadn't been done. Nagoya castle is disappointing at best. What you see in this picture looks nice from this distance. Get close to it and then you will realize the truth of its nature. It's a fake. The real building, along with the rest of Nagoya was incinerated during World War II. All that survived of the real castle was its stone foundation, and one of the towers and gates from what was once a sprawling castle. So on close inspection the castle is made of concrete and metal. The interior is a museum built in a modern rendition. The result is a lackluster experience. It was only the next day at school that I learned from my friend Cleo, that there was an amazing castle on a large hill 10 minutes outside of Nagoya. She insisted that it's everything that Nagoya-jo isn't.

Going native! This was taken on a Sunday afternoon when I was preparing to deliver a speech (in Japanese) to a regional AFS meeting. I'd never worn Yukata (summer kimono) before, and certainly I'd never had a chance to even get close to a kimono in my life. So it was a very special day when my host family decided that I should have a yukata of my own. It cost about $90. This is on the cheap end for Yukata. But nevertheless I was thrilled. It took two people, plus myself, and about 10 minutes to get the sash and yukata on correctly! I can't imagine wearing this every day and having to spend so much time putting on the correct way. Although modern clothes may lack the jazz that some old clothes had, utility of modern clothing certainly wins in the end in my opinion.

Lest We Forget... Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 1941. Today marks the 66th year since America and the Allied powers went to war with Japan. To all of the Allied and Japanese veterans still alive, I hope the years of peace since 1945 have healed any mental wounds from the war. Never again a world in arms.... only if.

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