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J-poptical illusion, ELT counts

Every man, woman and child lives under a nuclear sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident, or miscalculation, or by madness. – John F. Kennedy

3-D Catastrophe

Nuclear threat is imminent. Japan is the only country being nuked, so it’s my imprinted reaction to resist anything nuclear, even for its peaceful use. I’ve been to Hiroshima to visit the A-bomb Dome, confirmed the atrocity depicted in Hadashi-no-Gen. Yet, this isn’t done by the war machines but by the nature. It reminds me how vulnerable human beings are. Not only humans, but also all other living beings, cats, dogs, ducks, flowers, trees, wiped away at once. That is the reality. We’re just awfully powerless. We’re all too human, i.e., all too 3-D.

It was 1995, the earthquake hit Kobe, Japan. The moment I sensed doomsday. I was in Tokyo at that time, yet seismologists were saying the big quake would happen anytime in Tokyo. While Japan had been gloom and doom after the bubble, the Kobe earthquake happened. Moreover, the Tokyo subway terrorist attack in the same year. It was later revealed that the terrorist cult group made an attempt to acquire nukes from Russia. These events had led me to think that I didn’t have tomorrow.

The feeling of insecurity, uncertainty, and unstableness, probably affected my mental composition. I became prone to fall in love much easier, so-called “overly romantic,” yes, in fact love at first sight happened so often. We might die tomorrow, so why not enjoy romantic pleasure now? “The moment is now!” And next year, Neon Genesis Evangelion came out, almost apocalyptic, as if reflecting the zeitgeist of Japan at that time.

In fact, that zeitgeist led me to have an escapist attitude, and eventually to America, a nation of escapists, I mean, of immigrants.

ELT (every little thing) counts

Being escapist, I used to have a j-poptical illusion. I checked j-pop programs like M-Station every single week. I was a j-poptometrist in Japan. Ah, recently cleaning my room, I dug out this CD, Every Little Thing‘s first album, Everlasting. ELT marked their debut in 1996, and the vocal was just awesome, I thought a diva descended from heaven in the middle of apocalyptic Japan, her voice was so charming that had my whole brain cells activated with romantic passion. She surely carried me away to the other dimensions. Darn it, I didn’t realize I brought this CD with me to America!

So, I popped it in my laptop. And then, “Ahhh, so nostalgic!” Objectively, I know these songs are downright crappy, with such boring monotonous riffs programmed by stone age synthesizers. But back in Japan, I thought it was amazing, so wonderful I listened to it everyday, and whenever I listened to it, I fancied about girls I had a crush on. This fossil CD brought me back that feeling, in the age of i-Tunes.

After coming to America as a legal alien, more like a deserter, I never listened to j-pop. I even denied its existence. The music associated with trauma. But, ah, ELT’s Everlasting… Yes, everlasting means “eternal.” That’s right, eternity, eternal youth, symbolized by Seventeen Forever! How many years have passed since the last time I really listened…

Season, ah, melodiously melancholic…I find this particular song so melancholic, its melancholy almost similar to yozuka*’s Kioku no umi (sea of memory), a ED of School Days. My school days, el fracaso, I failed to experience any lovey-dovey, or in a more explicit way, hanky-panky like Makoto. Ahh, this ELT’s tune makes me recall one particular girl, a sexy senpai at work back in Japan. She was like Kitaoji Satsuki from Ichigo 100%. Her hairstyle and dark complexion resembled Kitaoji senpai’s.

What is she doing now? Is she okay? I hope the Tsunami didn’t affect her. Is she married, raising her kids, or working as a career woman, stepping up the ladder of the corporate world? I know she doesn’t remember me. I was just another part-time worker to her. But I still remember her. Moreover, as a matter of fact, I still remember all the girls I fell in love during my adolescent years. But none of them knows I left. I didn’t tell them that I was going to America. For I shed my memories of Japan all together in the Pacific. But now, watching the horrific scenes on the news, I wonder if they are all okay. At least I loved them, some of them secretly, to some of them I confessed.

Therefore, I’ve made a humble donation to the disaster relief. Not only for the sake of humanity, but also…for the sake of Hannah‘s audacity. Yes, Hannah in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Fukushima, and Sendai, Hannah is here and everywhere. And I’m certain that our every little contribution, every little thing we do to help, will ignite Hannah’s audacity to hope.

And to look at history and understand that when change takes place it takes place as a result of large, large numbers of people doing little things unbeknownst to one another.

And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future.

-Howard Zinn

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