Japan

I just spent seven days in Japan. Overall it was a great trip. Specifically, it was magnificent. I spent time in Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Tokyo. Some general observation on the culture.

In all my tourist walking in the cities of Kyoto and Tokyo, I never heard a car horn. There was heavy traffic, but it flowed. Nobody crosses the street when the light is red. Everyone waits until it green to pass. Japan is the cleanest country I’ve ever visited. No debris, no scraps of paper, no detritus of any kind, anywhere. Try to find those three things in New York City.

I’ll share many observations about the ancient capital Kyoto in coming posts. Today I want to share some of my visit to Hiroshima. Profound is a word we often over use. My day in Hiroshima was that – PROFOUND. I stood at ground zero. A plack points to the sky; nearly two thousand feet above that point is where the “Little Boy” bomb detonated. Probably eighty thousand died instantly, and 140-thousand died by the end of 1945.

What happened then was right. It was war. It saved thousands of American lives. It was still tragic and should not ever happen again.

One of my conclusions was that every leader of every country that has the nuclear bomb in their country’s arsenal should be made to visit the Hiroshima museum once every year.

Robert Frost

I thought of poet Robert Frost today as I watched a snow squall move through my wooded land. I too watched the woods fill up with snow as he did in a vision so many years ago and penned his famous poem.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening – Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
He lives in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep.
And miles to go before I sleep.
And miles to go before I sleep.

If you live in the Northeast, you know that heavy snow fills the woods quickly. Its “sweep of easy wind and downy flake” not only coat the ground and branches in a pristine of en-whiten-meant, but its beauty fills the human soul with the light of spirit.

When Frost says “the woods are lovely, dark and deep,” I think he’s referring to the darkness of an unknowing soul who has a spiritual revelation in a heavy white snowstorm, and the experience becomes an epiphany of wonder.

“Miles to go before I sleep,” is I’ve got a lot to think about before I die. So Do we all.

Just Askin’

Isn’t it time we repudiate those who have not been elected nationally but yield immense power that deludes the common man-woman, dilutes common sense, and dismisses compromise for the greater good?

Names you all know:

Mitch McConnel
Sean Hannity
Rush Limbaugh
Laura Ingraham

These are people in state elected political power as in the case of Mitch McConnel and non-elected people functioning as media priests who encourage, incite and influence policy by the force of their paid position on a media outlet.

In my career experience, America has gone from a balanced informational system of news delivery to one of contrarian diatribes and factless opinion.

I love debates. I like compelling arguments, dissent and eloquent conclusions where both sides present to a discerning public. The one-sided views of so few, that influence so many; does not serve the grace of democracy.

Languages disapearing

Several years ago the Associated Press reported that out of 6-thousand world languages, 2-thousand 500 languages are in danger of extinction. The report added that 200 languages have become extinct in the last three generations, and another 199 languages have fewer than ten speakers left.

That fact saddens me. To understand our collective cultural future, we must know our linguistic past. When a language becomes extinct so does the history and endemic knowledge of that culture.

I am also saddened that the English language we use today in everyday communication has become so perverted that at times I cannot understand what someone is saying.

Ask nearly any student, high school or college, to diagram the parts of speech or describe a simple declarative sentence, and you will get a blank look.

What happened?

We have dumbed down the elegance of speech into prattle, syllable elimination and a rhythmic beat seemingly conveying a quasi-poetic ablution of how one feels.

Language is the grace of society. It is the elegance of sophisticated communication and clear conversation. It is the archive of great literature. It is the essence of understanding and subsequently the path to peace, creativity, and harmony.

We need precise language. We need people who love it, embrace it, share it with eloquence and who will not abandon it too colloquial poppycock.