Thursday, May 1, 2014

There's a lot happening in Japan this Golden Week, and most of it isn't good

Lots of bad news here in Japan.  India has overtaken the country to become the world's third largest economy, knife murders, police suicides, the norovirus again, a possible bear attack, one hundred cars vandalized by a paint-happy miscreant, a near crash as an Airbus descended to under 75 meters on landing approach.  Someone murdered an elderly woman right here in our city.  This makes it the perfect time to blow off steam this Golden Week.

Hamamatsu provides an excellent opportunity with its yearly kite festival.  For three nights, the downtown area will reverberate with the clangor of festively-attired drunks blowing bugles and beating drums.  They'll also pull beautiful, illuminated yattai in a luminous display.  I especially enjoy seeing the festival participants who flop down on the sidewalk during the after parties, their bodies spent, their minds liberated from the shitty cares of daily life.  The hangovers are probably worth it.  If they're especially lucky, their companies will be closed the rest of the week, allowing them to recover.  If not, well, that's life here.

Out of all the stupid crap that's happened this week, my wife and I particularly enjoyed the JTB scandal.  An employee there forgot to order buses for a school outing, and instead of owning up to his mistake and taking his lumps for that, he chose to impersonate a student by sending an email threatening suicide if the school didn't cancel its excursion.  This is the result of thinking things only half through.  Sure, coming up with a crazy scheme seems like a good idea at first, but if you push past the initial inspiration, you see how it would never work and instead of getting into a fair amount of trouble for screwing up, you find yourself in major trouble for screwing up and then concocting a nutty hoax.  But if this person were the kind who could think things through to the end, he probably would have also been the kind who remembers to order buses for a school outing.

As for me, I'm going to spend my Golden Week doing creative things and enjoying the blessings of a tranquil life.  I hope.

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