Saturday, October 25, 2008

Obama Is Beautiful World

There is a town in Japan called Obama:

What is beautiful about this Japanese town embracing Obama is the fact that racism is alive and well in Japan...toward other Asians, and certainly toward blacks. When I lived in Japan, I had a Korean student whose parents and grandparents had been born in Japan, yet none of them had been able to obtain citizenship. This is one of the shameful parts of modern Japan.

As a white person, I received respect on the surface, but underneath it was the attitude that I could never really understand the true Japan. "We Japanese" was a common term. The term for foreigner in Japanese, "gaijin," was used in the past to refer to outsiders.

I'm in the middle of a book right now about the Japanese and Americans during the war, called Beside a Burning Sea. I read the author's first, Beneath a Marble Sky, a year or two ago--it was about the building of the Taj Mahal. This story is about an American hospital ship that gets blasted apart by a torpedo, and a handful of (mostly American) survivors make it to a remote island. A Japanese soldier and the American nurse who cared for him (and whose life he subsequently saved) are drawn together, and it's bound to end tragically.

So I'm meandering...but I love the fact that this Japanese town has embraced an African-American candidate so enthusiastically!

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