Showing posts from August, 2015

Ancestor Reflections


Ocho na Manera

Put i estaba yu' giya Hapon gi este na mes, ti meggai na tinige'-hu gi este na blog.

Para unu na mes tinane' yu' nu asunto Hapon yan i fina'pos guihi, ya ti hu gof tatityi hafa masusesedi giya Guahan yan gi Estados Unidos.

Lao pa'go matto yu' tatte para Guahan, ya achokka' bai hu konsigi tumuge' put i inaligao-hu giya Hapon, bai hu tutuhun kumukubre ta'lo otro na asunto, put hemplo i botasion para i presidente gi sanlagu.

Desde humalom Si Trump gi i inacha'igi manatlibas todu. Esta kalang manracist i meggaina na taotao gi patidan Republican, lao manlasinehyo siha ni sinangan Trump. Ya mas oppan yan annok ayu na chinatli'e'.

Estague ocho na puntan para taotao Asian (lao sina lokkue' Pacific Islanders) ni' taimanu sina ta nega (kontra) ayu na klasen kandidatu siha.


Here's 8 Ways Asian Americans Can Stand Up to Racist Presidential Candidates
August 26, 205
by keithpr

Republican presidential candidates Jeb Bu…

Japanese Peace Movements #11: The Miracle Tree

On my trip to Tohoku, the Popoki Peace project visited several towns that were affected by the tsunami. In each there were markers of the tragedy, stories of survival and also worries about what the future might bring. Along the roads, each town would have a markers identifying the point at which you were entering the tsunami inundation area and exiting it. Because of this, even if towns and roads are rebuilt, you can still imagine how far the waters and the destruction reached as you drive up the coast. Each town also had markers on street corners, on the side of buildings, power poles and street lights indicating how far away that point was far high ground where someone might be safe from a future tsunami.
Each town has markers not only of the destruction, but also of their survival and their endurance. They are usually remnants of life before.A building that did not fall. A particular survivor with a powerful tale to tell. In Rikuzentakata, there was a tree. Around the town it wa…

Japanese Peace Movements #10: A Shrine of Forgetting

Yesterday I spent the day at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. It was a very surreal experience. On the surface it appears like many other shrines or places or worship or reflection in Japan, but it was an incredibly militaristic space. It featured museums dedicated to a whitewashed military history of Japan, thousands of letters from soldiers writing home about how happy they were to die for Japan, and statues for the courage of war widows. The shrine is meant to serve the more than two million souls who have died as soldiers for Japan over the past century, so the militaristic and warmongering tone makes sense, but given what I know of Japanese history it was still shocking to see the way things were twisted in order to create a sense of sinlessness and honor in the midst of a very blatantly imperial period of their history. The shrine reminded me that if you win your wars, you can always explain and justify the deaths involved as heroic, as necessary, as part of a teleology of gr…

Japanese Peace Movements #9: Signs

I may have only been in Japan for a little less than a month, but it seems to me that Japan enjoys a heavy emphasis on instructions, signs and communicating properly. Perhaps because I can't read most of these signs as they are in Japanese and so because of that they are more visible and noticeable to me, whereas for others they simply fade into the background like visual cicadas. When walking by a construction site, signs are everywhere warning people to be safe, to not enter and even to apologize profusely for the inconvenience. Everywhere you go helpful and usually colorful mascots offer everything from advice, advertising and even just cheery, "hang in there!" messages. I'm used to walking into stores where I exchange less than ten words with a clerk, but here each employee is their own tenderu techa and every purchase offers their their own rosary or two about what I am buying, the money I am giving them and the importance of having a good day as I leave. Even …

Japanese Peace Movements #8: Rich Dirty Secrets

During this past research trip to the Tohoku Region of Japan with the Popoki Peace Project there was one visual constant as we traveled the most significantly affected disaster areas. In Chamorro, odda', in English, dirt.

On March 11, 2011 a huge earthquake struck Japan and caused a meltdown in the Fukushima nuclear power plant, causing radiation to blanket areas even one hundred miles away. Although the areas of compulsory evacuation were much smaller than the areas that were significantly affected, you could still see signs, even four years later of how the radiation have infected the land and threatened populations.  Some areas the Japanese government says it will try to move people back to within the next few months, others a few years, other areas may take decades or centuries before they are "safe" for human habitation again. The earthquake also led to a huge tsunami which battered hundreds of miles of coast and destroyed the coastal areas of several cities and t…

Japanese Peace Movements #7: Tsunami in Words

Last week I met with Yoko Ito, a resident of Otsuchi. She lost family members, her house and her coffee shop in the March 11, 2011 disaster. She herself was fortunate as she was visiting her mother at the time the tidal wave smashed into her town. She returned hours later via icy backroads to witness the destruction the wave had brought. She took pictures of what she saw and later combined them with images of Otsuchi before the catastrophe to create a photo book to document the tragedy of 3/11 in her town.

With the Popoki Peace Project I spent the morning with Ito-san, driving around Kamaishi and Otsuchi looking for signs of that disaster. Even four years later, we found them everywhere. Marks that indicated the highest point of the tsunami wave on buildings. Even signs inside of buildings that remind those who see them that the water level reached this point within the building before it receded. Even the lack of signs, were themselves landscapes of haunting beacons. The absence of …

Japanese Peace Movements #6: Meanwhile, in Guam...

One issue that constantly appears while traveling in Japan and speaking to people, is Guam's political status. I am not saying in any way that people here are knowledgeable about it or that they understand it. But there are constant, irritating reminders about Guam being a colony and how that means to much of the world you simply belong to another country and that is the extent of your existence.

The first time I traveled to Japan, I met with a large number of antiwar, demilitarization and peace activists. This was at a time when the transfer of US Marines from Okinawa to Guam was considered to be a hot issue, and somewhat controversial. Japan had agreed to pay more than half of the cost of the move, which had caused an uproar throughout Japan, because of the strange surreal fact that Japan had agreed to pay the expenses for moving another nation's military out of its borders. A number of Japanese political delegations had visited Guam, including representatives from Japan…

Japanese Peace Movements #5: Nuclear Reactions

Japan is at an interesting crossroads at present, with regards to nuclear power.

Prior to 2011 Japan had 54 nuclear reactors providing approximately 1/3 of all the electricity to Japan. After the March 11th earthquake and the subsequent meltdown at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant all of those reactors were shut down. The shutdown of these plants became a means for the power companies in Japan to obtain hardship subsidies from the government but also increase rates. There have been regular rumors of power outages and conservation, with the power companies all threatening that without nuclear power they cannot meet the needs of the country.

The nuclear power issue has constantly popped up again and again as Japan, a nation which is strongly antinuclear in a sort of populist way, has a corporate that is eager to make money off of its nuclear power infrastructure. There have been pushes to restart these generators not just to begun feeding energy into the country again, but also as a …

Japanese Peace Movements #4: Akahama Rock and Roll

While in Kobe I watched the film Akahama Rock and Roll, a documentary about the Akahama area of Otsuchi, which was dramatically affected by the 3/11 tsunami in Japan. It gave me a interesting introduction to the area that I've been visiting this past week. Akahama was home to a strong fishing community, which was devastated by the tsunami. The village itself suffered incredible human damage with 1 in 10 residents perishing in the waters and fires. The tsunami in the area reached more than 60 feet in height and easily devoured the seawall and almost everything else. The documentary showed how people are rebuilding and also disagreement over certain proposals meant to help keep the community safe from future tsunamis, namely the rising of the land on which new buildings will be erected and the creation of new, higher sea walls.

I haven't posted anything this week on my blog because I've been so overwhelmed with the stories I've been hearing as my research study group ha…

Japanese Peace Movements #3: Life in Videos

Since I can't speak Japanese, I have to rely on translators and interpreters to learn more about recent protests in the country. I'm grateful for a growing group of people who have been helping me understand more and more about continuing and recently developing protests. Videos on Youtube, some thankfully subtitled with English have also helped. I wanted to share some of them below, to help others understand more about life in Japan in terms of peace and protest.

Japanese Peace Movements #2: The Women Only Car

I've been in Japan for two weeks now and things have been quite busy, I haven't had as much time as I would like for blogging or writing. I have been swimming in a sea of small and large differences from my life on Guam. The things each day which strike me slowly or suddenly and remind me that I am in a different part of the world, and that my level of knowledge about Japan, barely scratches the surface of the surface for existence here. Transitioning from Guam, which is very car-centered to life here in Kobe where my life, my cognitive and temporal geography is all dictated by public transportation is a massive shift.

One thing caught my eye the other day while I was riding the train. Some trains would have cars with pink signs on them such as the one in the image above. These trains would only for female users of public transportation. When I asked my friend why they had these and were these common throughout Japan, she stated that they were created in response to the frequ…