I received several calls from the restlessly independent and adroitly irreverent folks at Adbusters magazine at the start of this year. Their goal was to broaden and deepen their coverage of the Asian region in general, and Japan in particular, a goal I naturally laud.
I've now begun contributing stories from and about today's Japan for the magazine's globally-minded editors and readership. My first submission is here:
"We Grew Up Too Comfortable to Take Risks."
What's interesting to me is that I've received emails from readers suggesting that (a) today's Japan is not really as bleak as the nation I've described, and (b) that it's far, far worse. Most of the (a) responses emanate from non-Japanese. The (b)'s are overwhelmingly from Japanese nationals.
Is this a case of domestics overreacting to recent violence in a country whose comparative overall crime rate remains exceptionally low?
Of course, as a peripatetic writer whose anchor is currently planted in US soils, I find myself agreeing with both responses, with all of you, or each and every one of you--and I sincerely appreciate the intelligent, well-reasoned commentary. I'm learning lots.
Speaking of the US-scape: we're now lining up a series of events/presentations set for the autumnal rush, most of which have just been posted on the Japanamerica website. I hope to post additional info here in short order.
Before then, here's an event in which I will not directly participate, even if I want to. This Saturday (8/23) out in Brooklyn, don your gear and hone your moves for the Kaiju Big Battle 2008.
I have been assured by the organizers--practicing kaiju, every one--that the monsters and the fighting are rivetingly real. Hip-tosses optional.