Thursday, May 8, 2008
Can't we all just get along?
Pay no attention to that music widget on the sidebar. Those are not in fact my picks, but I am trying to figure out how to upload my own favorite music - have thus far been unsuccessful.
The Okinawans like to protest. Now, I like a good protest. At Dartmouth, there was a big brouhaha about the administration interfering with extra-curricular activities by limiting alcohol consumption, and boy did we get organized fast. Moved by the unwarranted restrictions to their underage freedoms, hundreds of students lit candles, donned their greek letters, and marched arm in arm to the president's front lawn, singing the alma mater (or in my case, mouthed wa-ter-mel-lon to the tune). So committed were we to the cause that we cut of our own noses to spite our face by canceling our own Homecoming Carnival. That'll show em! Even the writer of Animal House (a Dartmouth grad) showed up with news teams to cover the injustice.
No doubt there are more important things to protest these days, both in the US and abroad. Okinawans, are up in arms (and by arms, I mean cardboard signs and bullhorns) about Americans in Okinawa. There is the American noise, a lot of noise. Our planes our incredibly loud - to the point where John and I cannot hear each other in the same room when they fly overhead. Then there is a the dog poop. There is a turf war happening in our neighborhood, and the dogs are winning. The Okinawans blame the Americans (every American here has a dog) and the Americans blame the Okinawans because they let their dogs out to walk themselves. Whose ever fault it is, the results dictate that I have to run with my head down.
Additionally, there is the chaos that ensued with the alleged rape of a 14 year old local girl by a marine. I understand that the charges have been dropped by the Japanese government, because of a lack of evidence. But the sting of that world news event has not dissipated. We (Americans) are no longer forbidden to walk outside (that lasted about 3 weeks) and we can now drink alcohol off base, but we have a curfew of midnight. If you are caught walking to your neighbors' house, you will be prosecuted and it has happened. I think this will stay in effect for a while. This only applies to John, and not to me, but still.
So, the other day, I was biking down the hill (on the wrong side of the road because it was raining and there were less puddles) and I come up to a 5-man protest. There are 5, symetrically distributed individuals holding signs (totally in Japanese). The center figure was holding a microphone attached to a speaker box and the MICROPHONE IS A PLASTIC ICE CREAM CONE. So very Japanese. I'm fearing that they are protesting American presence on their soil, and here I am, a behemoth American woman, barreling down the wrong side of the road. I never quite figured out what they were protesting, but each and everyone bowed as I rode by. The Japanese are nothing if not polite.
A shot of our seawall.