Teaching In Socks

Missing all the action

After weeks of dead air,  Michael Jackson excess, and puff-pieces on smile detectors the last week has been Mfilled with an abundance of headline grabbing news.

Japan was fortunate enough to avoid receiving the worst the massive typhoon that devastated parts of Eastern China and Taiwan. However,  the residual storm hit Hyogo Prefecture (where I live) over the weekend and caused torrential flooding of the local river as well as a deadly mudslide in a town to the north. Everything in Ako is in working order, but it was the first time I had seen a helicopter since being near the U.S. Air Force base in Okinawa.

I also avoided both (yeah, 2) of the Earthquakes that hit Japan this weekend (thanks for checking in, mom). Luckily, neither were fatal, and both were too far north for me to feel them, but an American celebrity was deeply and personally affected. By my count Volcanos, sandstorms, and Giant Lizards monsters are the only thing Mother Nature has left at her disposal to throw at Japan this week.

However, Japan is a developed,modernized and media driven country. Thus, while significant, none of these natural disasters were given a fraction of screen time and attention on the Evening News as the arrests of two Japanese Celebrities–in separate, unrelated incidents–for drug possession.  Early last week, TV actor and singer, Manabu Oshio, was being arrested for using for Ecstasy. As a result, his management agency fired him for breech of contract and his wife, whom he had been separated from, formally divorced him.

Oshio must have prayed to whatever pagan-voodoo news media demon that helped out mark Sanford out of his mess, because Oshio’s story was quickly eclipsed popular TV actress and singer (yes, they are all double threats over here), Noriko Sakai, who fled law enforcement after her husband was arrested for possession of stimulants. Furthermore, it was revealed that her husband was a member of the Japanese Crime organization, the Yakuza, and that before fleeing, she left her 10-year old son with a family friend, a friend who happened to be secretly having an affair with Sakai’s husband. She had turned off her cellphone and withdrawn money and speculation brewed about who would find (or had found) her first, the authorities, or the Yakuza. Eventually after several days on the lamb, she turned herself into the Police and admitted to stimulant abuse. Even after the resolution of this affair, the news media seems to be obsessed with the details. Many of my student I have spoken to claim to be tired of the coverage–while in the meantime consistently bringing up the subject in conversation. It’s my predication that the cameras will stay focused on this until Kim Jong Il does something crazy (aka next week).

Meanwhile, as Japan News media burned, I most played Punch Out for Nintendo Wii and went to see Hachi–an American movie based on the true story about a Japanese dog. The actual dog, Hachiko, an Akita, is famous in Japan for waiting at Shibuya train station for nine years (1926-1935) awaiting the return of his master, who had suffered a stroke at work and subsequently died. While Americanized, the movie is quiet good.I can’t speak too much towards the dialog as the version I watched was dubbed in Japanese, but I will confess I violated my policy to never cry at a Richard Gere movie, and even disturbing is that I cried for a dog that said that Richard Gere’s character was dead. In spite of the flood I would have stayed dry had it not been for a pair sad puppy dog eyes.


Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: