Wednesday, August 10

お地蔵様 (おじぞうさま)

On returning from Japan recently, I noticed, while walking down the airplane aisle, a headline on the USA Today that was being read by one of the seated passengers. It said something about the real estate corporate king Donald Trump offering to revamp the United Nations. Trump? The United Nations? Was I entering a magical world in which real estate and international diplomacy concerning affairs of health, war, and peace merged seamlessly into one giant contest -- a contest won by hubris and greed? No, I was returning home. Or at least to a place where people found it natural and well to think of the charter of the United Nations as having been conceived for the accumulation of wealth by the wealthiest of nations (but, then again, they might have a good argument). Thus, I discovered that only one week's absence from the Empire held a little cultural shock for me.

What's more, seeing George Bush Jr.'s face all over the omnipresent television sets playing in the airport felt like being forced to eat last week's leftovers. Was this flatulent man still in power? During my short time abroad, Bush had became a less pressing source of irritation, even to the point where I had succumbed to the delightful illusion that he had faded resolutely into the past.

May I return to that distant place soon, and lurk once more among places of quiet contemplation...

Stone figures (click for enlargement, photo by terrette)