Monday, August 15, 2005

Automobiles,Trains,Planes

15 August 2005
Its Obon holiday week.When the locals return to their ancestral homes to remember their dead relatives.Theres a huge exodus.Trains,planes and other forms of public transport are crammed to over-capacity.Highway traffic jams extending 30km arent uncommon.
It was the twentieth anniversary Friday of the worlds worst aviation accident involving one aircraft.In 1985 a JAL Boeing lost most of its tail fin and crashed into the mountains of Guma Prefecture.20 years on its still the subject of TV dramas and news coverage of victims families making their annual pilgrimage to the crash site.Much easier recently with the building of a road within 800 metres of the memorial.
520 odd people perished.The playback of the final minutes of the pilots audio as they wrestled with the uncontrollable plane made for harrowing listening even in Japanese.It ended with the metallic voice warning "Pull Up Pull Up" and then a loud hissing noise.Some of those who survived the initial crash at 6.58pm died during the night as rescuers lacked adequate trainning in night flying and hovering their helicopters.Well it was 1985 after all.
BOOKS
I recently read Paul Austers New York Triology.Three longish short stories.Interesting style.Difficult to get into.Difficult to relate to any of the characters or their situations.Not sure if the style of writing was meant to keep you at arms length and dispassionate.I found it hard to warm to.
Also read Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome.A pretty easy read about boating on the canals and rivers of 1920s,1930s England.Not too taxing.The author has a relaxed almost conversational style with plenty of asides and irrelevant tho interesting bits and pieces about such things as old Roman sites and early English history.It made barging and boating seem very leisurely compared with the life portrayed in Young Adam a recent dvd I saw starring Ewan McGregor.McGregors character worked on a barge ,living with a family.It was pretty grim invoving deceit,murder and extra-marital affairs.The photography made all the characters and scenery dull,grey and lifeless.
DVDs
Speaking of dvds i was impressed with Geoffrey Rush as Peter Sellers in the HBO tv film The Life and Death of Peter Sellers.As well as having a striking physical resembalance to Sellers Rush also had worked out some of his mannerisms.As one review stated Sellers was a first rate mimic and comic but a third rate human being.I recommend this, having for some reason passed over it till now.
I also revisited a personal fav of mine Dinner Rush.No real stars more an ensemble cast effort.One night in a hip New York restaurant.Character driven plots.Diners and staff providing the action.The extras on the dvd add little as such.There is a soundtrack extra which runs for an hour or so with some relaxing bossa nova, south american music.
The movies also got a surprise ending I forgot about .The kitchen scenes are shot like action scenes sometimes slowed right down as you see various cooking arts on display.Evidently the director cut his teeth on music videos and owns several restaurants including the one where the movie was shot.Again well worth a look.
Opps! Conflict of Interest?
At the moment the issue of asbestos and people dying from asbestos related diseases has raised its ugly dusty head in Japan.Despite the dangers of asbestos being known since at least the 1970s little or nothing appears to have been done here either to stop its use or provide help for those who suffer from its impact.
Whatever, last week the head of the Environment panel looking into the question of asbestos has had to resign.News reports state that the head of the panel a professor no less was an adviser to the Japan Asbestos Association,a group of asbestos manufacturers.He decided to step down as the connection would "have a negative impact on the panels image." no kidding prof!!
He even appeared in a promotional video in 1994 "Natural Resource Asbestos That Contributes to Society".I find it hard to believe a so-called intelligent man didnt consider there would be some conflict of interest and should have refused the panel appointment in the first place.

Lets Go to Shopping...More Bad English
Each Monday recently i work at a newly constructed shopping centre.It was flooded with families today.Its a holiday.Its hot.Its summer.Naturally if you are Japanese you head lemming like to your nearest retail outlet.As opposed to the beach.Ocean.Or any other healthy outdoor pursuit.
Anyway there are a couple of examples of bad english i wish to share...
"With safety,relief and the delicious meal please chosen and enjoyed your dish and drinks"
and the other glowing example of how well the english language has penetrated Japanese consciousness...
"Our professionally trained chefs create sweets ready for you to enjoy as well as simple"
If I could only just get a ladder and some paint I'd be much happier....

1 comment:

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