Monday, March 28, 2005

Space...`No-one gets a life rehearsal as specks of dust we`re universal'...Indigo Girls

Monday 28 March 2005
Space in its various guises has figured one way or another in my last couple of weeks.Bear with me.
The first incident occured one Saturday morning .Cleaning my apartment.I came upon a dusty Indigo Girls cd.Fallen behind a bookshelf.Forgotten.One of the tracks was 'Galileo' their tribute to the great thinker and philospher.I'd just finished (finally)Stephen Jay Goulds book which featured Galileo.It was as much a chore to finish the book as it was cleaning my apartment but I felt duty-bound to do both.
The second tenuous link with "space" turned up in Philip Wrights book simply titled "Tank".Very interesting even riveting reading at times.Wright examines its history from WW1 to the first Gulf War.He looks at the tank not only from a military view but also its role as a social and political icon.The book opens with a chapter about the famous Tianamen Square photo and ends some 440 pages later suggesting the SUV is the suburban desendant of the tank.In between Wright traces the development and use of the tank,its leading thinkers such as Fuller and Liddell Hart, current thinking and leading practitioneers such as the Germans notably Rommel and the Israelis who used tank tactics so decisively against their Arab neighbors particulary in the Six Day War.One thinker described the tank as " a mobile protected space with a direct fire weapon."
The third albeit more disturbing incident occurred in of all places a Starbucks cafe.Late last Wednesday morning.I was happily sipping my insipid lukewarm overpriced beverage, complete with eco-friendly toxic plastic container trying to feign interest in my colleagues monologue about the latest work injustice.Sitting near us to our right was your typical salaryman.He was of the small furtive variety with matching receeding hair and battered brief case.Nothing unremarkable.He sat staring at us the entire lenghth of our visit till his antics forced us to leave.
Anyway at one point he fished out from his briefcase a portable razor.He then proceeded to shave or rather hold the loudly buzzing razor on his bottom lip.And left it there.Oblivious to the glares I gave him.The razors noise made polite conversation well-nigh impossible.No one else seemed perturbed.
Maybe attending to ones bodily needs and functions in a public place in Japan is tolerated.Its not uncommon to see men urinating in streets or women applying makeup and using eye lash curlers on trains.
Surely theres some line between public and private space where certain things cant be done?
Is it ok to breastfeed in public, change an infants diapers in Mcdonalds or publicly pick at various orifices and examine the results left on your fingertips..yeech..maybe Starbucks needs to have a non-shaving zone as well as a non-smoking zone...
Of more serious import are the curent 'space' disputes Japan has with three of its neighbors..Russia,South Korea and China over various contested islands.Such disputes can only harm relations particularly with South Korea which since the joint staging of the World Cup seemed to be improving...meanwhile President Putin has put off visting Japan in part due to the ongong territorial disputes...
Random Thoughts
Still waiting for the first sign of cherry blossoms,the weather has been cold and it snowed last Monday seems the blossoms are late arriving this year..

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