Of course the American holiday Veteran's Day isn't celebrated here in Japan. I mean, why would it be? Despite my having decided to live abroad, I still love the country of my birth (even if I don't agree with the things it does from time to time), so yesterday I honored our armed forces by watching the 1949 classic Battleground, starring Van Johnson.
Battleground is the story of a 101st Airborne infantry company involved in the defense of Bastogne. They gripe endlessly and bicker amongst themselves. But mostly they endure. They endure the weather, intermittant shellings, infrequent combat, the woundings and deaths of close friends, not knowing what country they're in (they speculate it's Luxembourg) and fear. A remarkably realistic movie considering when it was made; it still holds up quite well compared to things like Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers. It's certainly superior to many of the overly patriotic or sentimental flicks made during the war itself, and not as cynical as the ones made during the 50's and 60's.
Mainly, its point is war is a horrible thing that happens all too often and sucks in decent human beings.
I remember seeing this film for the first time way back in elementary school on one of my sickdays. And I recently bought it here for 500 yen, along with such masterworks as Citizen Kane, The Third Man and To Kill a Mockingbird!
Yesterday, November 11th, was also Pocky Day. Pocky is a snack consisting of thin sticks of something like pretzel-material covered on one end with chocolate or strawberry flavoring. There are many varieties of Pocky, from the standard chocolate version in a bright red box to Men's Pocky (dark, semi-bitter chocolate) to the special winter-only Pocky with fast-melting chocolate.
Pocky-maker Glico declared the holiday because the date can be written 11/11, which looks like four Pocky sticks in a row.
Unfortunately, I forgot to buy some Pocky!