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A few days ago I wrote a casual post called the fugitive about a cool escaped penguin. I talked about the The Fugitive and Blade Runner.
Then real life caught up. Aum is a Japanese cult. Aum members committed terrorist attacks in Japan in the 1990s including a sarin nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway. Three Aum members have been on the most wanted list in Japan since they fled 16 years ago. Their photos are posted outside police boxes all across Japan.
Then one of them Makoto Hirata suddenly and unexpectedly gave himself up on 31 December 2011. Perhaps in a deliberate move to force a delay in the execution of Shoko Asahara the leader of Aum. Next the police caught Naoko Kikuchi on Sunday 4 June in Kanagawa. Then the third member Katsuya Takahashi panicked when he heard the news of Kikuchi's arrest and was caught on video making several large cash withdrawals. It was the first time he had been spotted in the 16 years. The police rushed to arrest him but missed him by one hour. I hope they catch him very soon.
The story of Aum was like many cults that become twisted and deformed by personal greed and pride. Hundreds of young people drifting in Japanese society were attracted to its simplistic pseudo-Buddhist answers. The cult used mind control techniques and resorted to extortion. Gradually the cult leadership came to believe that they were above the law. It was almost impossible for members to leave. A young lawyer called Tsutsumi Sakam
There are two kinds of artists left: those who endorse Pepsi and those who simply won't.
To be perfectly honest, what I'm really thinking about are dollar signs.
Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, and the trouble is I don't know which half.
back when the names of things
hadn't had time to stick
Rita Dove, Testimonial
when I'm watchin' my tv
and that man comes on to tell me
how white my shirts can be
Rolling Stones, Satisfaction
I was surprised - of course I shouldn't have been - to notice deliberate product placement in an anime animated cartoon. You don't even need to film or photograph a real product. You can just draw one.
Japanese people don't seem to mind overt commercial sponsorship. Many of the professional baseball teams - like the Chunichi Dragons or the Seibu Lions - are known by their sponsor's name, not their city's name. Some commercials using Hollywood stars were so bad that they were not allowed to be shown outside Japan.
Today I am going to give my own endorsements. But they are real. Not for the products - the quality of Japanese products is usually excellent. But for really great service.
I have a pen that was owned by my first aikido teacher. His wife gave it to me with some personal things of his after he died. I use it every day. It's about thirty years old. It is a ballpoint pen with two colour
Some of the latest stories and information from Japan and one more way you can help. You can buy a print from flickr. You bid on it and when you win you make the donation to charity and the photographer sends you the print.
Here is another great way to help the victims of the earthquake. You can get Songs for Japan for $9.99. All the money goes to the Japanese Red Cross. 38 tracks by Bon Jovi, Dylan, Eminem, Pink, Sade, Springsteen, Sting… Yoko Ono donated Imagine by John Lennon. I have always liked Yoko Ono since a friend of mine told me about writing to her when he was a boy. It was just to say he was so sorry about John's death. Yoko Ono wrote back personally. So check out her site for the details or just go to itunes. And here are more background links.
In one of my earthquake posts I wrote recent articles in the title and at the side of the screen it was shortened to recent art. So for anyone who was hoping to see earthquake art and who was disappointed this is a great picture of Japanese superheroes helping out in the earthquake. If you recognize any of them please put their names in the comments! Check out the other cool pictures at that link too. We humans need all the help we can get.
We are all only human and maybe there is only so much earthquake news our brains can take in. But Japan is still in emergency mode and I don't feel comfortable yet doing a normal blog article about budo. So for a little longer here is some of the news from Japan. Sendai is the town of Masamune Date. He had an eyepatch and a cool helmet with a big crescent moon. So if you need a change from the sadness and tragedy of the news maybe you or someone you know might want to make a model of him (you need both pages I think). But don't forget the prayers.
There's no real news today. But there have been warnings that children and pregnant women should not drink tap water. Anyway some more interesting articles. Please keep praying and please keep doing whatever you can.
il pleure dans mon coeur
comme il pleut sur la ville
it's raining in my heart
like the rain falling on the city
It was raining today.
Black Rain has a meaning in Japanese - the fallout from a nuclear bomb. 黒い雨 Kuroi Ame was a 1965 novel by Masuji Ibuse about the aftermath of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. It was made into a movie with the same title directed by Shohei Imamura. The film was very well-received critically. The wikipedia entry about it says,
The film has a strong theme of the Buddhist beliefs on the suffering in life, that things are transient and the uncertainty of the time of one's death.
Then Hollywood used the same title for an action thriller directed by Ridley Scott. Black Rain is a cool title but in Japanese it's inextricably associated with the novel and with Hiroshima. The Japanese movie Kuroi Ame came out in May 1989 and the Hollywood movie Black Rain came out in September 1989. The American movie starred Michael Douglas, Andy Garcia, Yusaku Matsuda and Ken Takakura. It's not a great film but it is enjoyable and it's also memorable as the last performance of the cool and charismatic Japanese actor Yusaku Masuda. He had cancer and he died on 6 November 1989 soon after the movie's premiere aged thirty-nine.