Wednesday, 4 November 2009

culture day

Yesterday was Culture day, which brings to mind the Goering quote - 'when I hear the word culture I reach for my Browning (revolver)'.

There was no mention of Goering's words of wisdom in the mass media, at least as far as I noticed.

We celebrated Culture day by cycling to Rikugien park in Komagome, not far from here. It's an old park, built in the early 1700s. Despite it being too early for kouyou (leaf changing season) and a chilly 13 degrees the garden was rather busy. There seems to be a sizeable part of the Japanese population that enjoy 'hitogomi'  人込み - being in places crowded with people .... (it's only been a recent realization that the gomi (込み)of hito (people)gomi  means 'crowded' not 'rubbish' 塵 - same pronunciation、different character.  I long marvelled at the aptness of 'human rubbish' in crowded places.... hmmm...

Rikugien was also celebrating Culture Day by inviting in traditional puppeteers.  The marionettes had more than 20 strings... even though, Hiro was more impressed by the Vietnamese water puppets in Hanoi (which Madeline and I mostly slept through  - first night in Hanoi after a very long flight via HK - so I'm not in a good position to compare.)

To celebrate the new cultural diversity in Japan, we opted for Indian (run by Nepalese) for lunch, rating it acceptable but too sweet (modified for Japanese tastes) and not nearly as nice as a Nepalese place we ate at a fortnight ago.

While tangentally connected to Goering,   there are two other quotes of his that seem rather apt at the moment.  Though I admit it is disturbing to be quoting Goering as proof of anything....

1.  “Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

and, more pertinent to my daily life

2. “Guns will make us powerful; butter will only make us fat.”