Friday, September 21, 2007

Divine Comedy 2007 (XIV)

Tokyo Bus Trip 2

(Tokyo Bus-Reise 2)

Divine Comedy 2007 (XIV)
[Comédie Divin 2007 - XIV]

1. The Kindest Lady in New York
Once a Japanese tourist, during his visit to a big and famous museum in New York, wanted to eat at the Golden Arches.

He, though he knew there was surely a McDonald's shop inside the museum, could not find a way to get there, for the museum was so large.

Unfortunately he could not spot many people who looked like liking to help him.

At staircases, nonetheless, he could find a cleaning lady of the museum. He asked her the way to get to McDonald's: "How can I get to McDonald's?"

But, the lady could not understand what he said.

The key is his pronunciation for "McDonald's" or "Makudonarudo."

He repeated and repeated it in vain; and long and weird minutes for his hunger passed by on a stair-case landing of a huge and famous museum in New York between a hamburger-hungry Japanese youth and an innocent, highly puzzled, but patient cleaning lady.

Yet, a Japanese cannot be a fool; he took out a pen and a sheet of paper to draw a picture of his loving hamburger.

She got it, saying loudly, "Oh! McDonald's!" He also got relieved, saying loudly, "Yes (Iesu), Makudonarudo!"

As the cleaning lady never showed a sense of contempt, unlike some other bad European Americans, in the whole proceeding of the event, on the Japanese youth's pronunciation, he could take his loving hamburgers at the shop later peacefully; and thus now I am reporting it to the world.

2. Water
One of key words to understanding Japan is "water."

a) Quality of water in Japan is opposite to that of water in Europe. Japan's is soft water and Europe's is hard water with abundant mineral components. However, Japanese water is a key to good taste of green tea as well as Japanese dish, including "Sushi."

In addition, Sushi having history of several hundred years became drastically popular in the samurai era that had continued until 150 years ago in the capital Edo (currently Tokyo), since the Tokyo Bay supplied various types of fishes and sea foods.

b) Since establishment of Yamato Imperial Court in the 6th century, the central political power of Japan promoted rice culture in its territory, driving out or taking over tribes who had been relying on hunting and other staples. Consequently, and through samurai regimes that took hegemony from the Imperial Court, almost all the plains in Japanese islands except northern Hokkaido were turned into rice paddies.

Rice plants need water to cover a whole paddy field while they are growing. Accordingly, in older days, all the plains in Japan were covered by rice plants and water that is abundantly supplied from rivers also abundant in Japanese Islands, though Japanese Islands can be only sub-tropical in July and August.

Indeed, winter in the Japanese Islands is as cold as, say, in Paris or Washington DC.

(In addition, Japanese water seems to be good for preservation of the youth of the skin. Hard water and alcohol seems to destroy beauty of the skin faster. McDonald's shops had better offer soft water.)

3. School, Soba Restaurant, and TV Station
Even decades ago when high-school girls did not use cell phones or pocket beepers in Japan, they loved to visit a TV station after taking Soba (buckwheat noodle) or McDonald's hamburgers when school was over for the day. Nowadays, most of them are still happy visiting a McDonald's shop and a TV station location on the Tokyo Bay with their familiy members on a holiday.

The other day, I was surprised to see an advertisement of NHK. On an NHK channel, its president was acting like a monster or Godzilla in Tokyo. He, in a gigantic form, was carrying an NHK building to the Tokyo Bay area or another TV station location to find that NHK was not fit to those commercially popular spots. He delivered a message that NHK was its own to provide public services for the people, for it is under supervision of the Government.

NHK and the other Japanese media must make more efforts to expand its business not only to America but also to Asia and China.

Their lack of efforts have indirectly resulted in US Government's negligence on the real threat of terror in 2001 while AlQaeda demolished the great statutes of Buddha in Afghanistan in the spring of 2001.

4. Who Designed Modern Facilities in Japan?
Once I was astonished to discover that there are some Americans and Europeans who could not read a map and thought most of Japanese could not either, while they taught English conversation in Japan.

In Japan, elementary school children are taught how to read a map.

Some Americans and Europeans, when they visit Japan, seem to think that every modern building and facility in Japan was designed by hired Europeans or Americans whose ancestors ever colonized Japan, since first-rate engineers in the world are all Europeans or Americans, according to their arrogant view on the world.

Truth is that Japan has never been colonized by West or China; and Japanese engineers have been better than European or American engineers after WWII and even before WWII in some fields. Every modern building and facility in Japan, except a very few exceptions, has been designed by Japanese. Engineers of Toyota and Sony working in Japan, for example, have been all Japanese, roughly speaking.

For you not to be so blindly arrogant, I recommend you to refer to Horyuji Temple, an example of Japanese engineering of 1,300 years ago when no great buildings could be spotted in London and Paris where people were busy learning legacies of the Roman Empire.
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Truly, designing a food called hamburger, using comminute beef and bread of whatever quality, is much easier than inventing Sushi using fermentation and vinegar as well as quality of rice and water in addition to a superb seasoning called Shou-yu (soy source).

(However, which do you think is more valuable, wine or Sake, if you are not a Muslim?)