Saturday, October 25, 2008

America the Still-Beautiful

WARNING: Still nothing about weaving in this post.

And still, the great majority of Japanese population loved things American, and still do. They were so shiny and colorful and happy. I don't remember much anti-American sentiments growing up, just anti-Viet Nam Police Action. I was born 13 years after the War (and that would be WWII, or the Pacific War as we know it,) officially ended, but the nation as a whole, its citizens, were very poor, and still sighing the great sigh of relief the bombings have stopped and we can get on with recreating our lives. We didn't exactly blame the Emperor or Tojo, (stoke of genius that McCarthy didn't execute the Emperor,) though we felt victimized by men who wanted to see if their male appendages were bigger than the Americans', and acts of war in general. We just wanted to move on.

I remember trying to peak inside the American bases when we were nearby, just to have a glimpse of front lawns and picket fences and family cars. If I was walking with Mom, we had to rush past them, looking down so as never to make eye contact with the guards with guns, or heaven forbid, with THEIR German Shepherds, but if I happened to be on a train or a taxi, she may not have noticed, I thought. The families of soldiers lived lives just like in the movies, and no matter what the weather outside the bases, it always appeared sunny and balmy inside.

When I became 13, nobody had to tell me I shouldn't even think of bases, because that's how teenage girls got pregnant. I missed being pre-teen and when I was on this one train line that ran along the edge of a small base for half a minute, I shut my eyes trying to remember the neat white houses from previous trips, trying not to peek. The temptation was so strong, it was like mini-Lent every trip. About that year, they stopped showing re-runs of Leave It to Beaver, so I was well and truly out of luck.

You can see how, when I finally convinced my parents to let me go to the US, I felt like a real winner. My entire year in 9th grade, I doodle white picket fences in all of my notebooks. And though I had to battle with the amount of homework for the first month, the rest of my high school life was dreamy. I was short and fat, but had a great head of hair, (I was once complimented by young, male wedding photographer - now if that doesn't boost the ego of a teenager!) I swung between 3.2 and 3.8 GPA, and was the periphery of the clique, (I felt that joining them would make me part of "establishment"). Nixon resigned the three days after I arrived, and Viet Nam was coming to an end. And as a Japanese, I was becoming an "insider" on things American, at only 16.

And though the country changed so drastically since I left in early '82 sometimes I've not recognized it, it's still such an amazing country.

There's no tidy conclusions to these two posts. Just me reminiscing, and remembering the times I had more spunk. And joining the prayer in the video; it's a global prayer.

6 comments:

  1. Meg, I've been absolutely glued to these posts. Your writing is so vivid, I feel as though I've just shared a part of your past.

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  2. Oh, thanks, Geodyne. The repetitive motion of warping and weaving does strange things to my mind from time to time. And since I feel compelled to write about then, oh what the heck, I htought.

    I couldn't stop thinking about my parents all afternoon and I came to a startlingly hilarious conclusion of sorts!! I'll tell you about it some other time.

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  3. Yes, Meg, America is a beautiful place. It's just that we've been stuck in adolescence, throwing our weight around out in the world, making enemies and not friends, doing foolish things, occupying others' countries that they hate us for (they DON'T hate us for our freedoms, they hate us because we've taken over their countires). And so much has fallen apart here at home, if it was ever together to begin with. That trillions have gone to the war in Iraq when we lack healthcare, higher education, good jobs, still have so much hated and racism, people can't afford to live here, the rich are pandered to and the poor have fallen through the cracks -- this is something any other president would have been impeached for. As an independent-thinking American, and a Green, politically, it's absolultely mind-blowing.
    Obama will certainly have his work cut out for him. I am so glad that people around the world are rooting for this change that we will (most hopefully) all (world over) experience, with somebody of integrity and intelligence at the helm in America.

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  4. Yes, I hear you, Connie. Thanks for the great video. It's a big job, repairing such a big nation. Some critics here say, semi-seriously, you've got to be mad to want that job now. I feel for Obama; he's got so many different groups to satisfy, and I've got this foreboding nobody is going to be as happy as quickly as they hope to be...

    By the way, we have an election on the Saturday after yours, and we're getting coverage on both all the time, and yours is sometimes referred to the Big Election.

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  5. Meg,

    As a teen librarian today, I have to say I am amazed at how American culture has completely been smitten by everything Japanese. Manga, cosplay, anime, and much much more, now we have teenagers dying to visit, work, and live in Japan.
    How fun is that?

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  6. Kat, that is what I hear, though it's not too evident over here. In some respect, it is a very diverse country, though it is also an extremely homogeneous society. Old and new, traditional and avant-garde...

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