Where as yesterday was a dark and heavily rainy day, today turned out to be very beautiful. I forgot to mention that I gave this report on the music of Takako Minekawa and Cornelius etc. The class particularly liked this one song that mimicked a typewriter lesson, where each set of practice letters was an acronym of something like CIA or ELP. It starts out innocent, but ends with USA RIP and then just beats for 6 minutes.
After such a day, I found myself with the first real free time I had had in weeks. Always being one to take advantage of such occasions I spent my free evening talking to Brian and Knight about absolutely nothing. It was a good time.
We were sitting on top of a wooden counter in the anteroom next to the dorm’s dining hall where there's a TV, drinking coffee and laughing, when two of the other American students come running in to tell us that the World Trade Center had been hit with two airplanes. It's about 10PM.
Hearing this in the middle of Japan, while talking about absolutely nothing, slightly hyper and at the end of a long period of stress, this had about the same effect as someone saying, "I'm going to clown school". In other words, it was thoroughly unfathomable, we were on the earth, the earth was OK, look, nothing's wrong. Then we looked at the TV in the dining room.
At that time, although both towers were billowing smoke out of their gaping wounds, no one really knew anything about whether it was an accident (though it appeared otherwise) or what sort of planes had hit the building (passenger, commuter...). There was something hideously grotesque about the holes the aircraft had made because they weren't the round shape you see in movies but this weird mouth shape that had been caused, I'd assume, by the shape of the airplanes. And the holes just kept billowing out this awful black smoke.
Since the news was entirely in Japanese, we did not understand a word of what they were saying. It was sort of like being a child and not understanding just what's going on. I got this feeling like that one scene in "Ferris Bueler's Day Off" where Ferris's friend kicks his dad's prize Ferrari into a ravine behind the house: we could just stare, thinking something was horribly wrong and unchangeable.
After 10 minutes of watching people say things in Japanese, they played this awful shot of the second plane hitting. twenty times in rapid succession, which made all of the guys watching feel slightly sick. It was like watching a building blow its brain out; crash, pause, than a huge explosion out the backside of the building. Looking behind us I could see several Japanese people just sort of eating dinner; it was surreal.
At this point, it was time to call my parents to find out what exactly was going on and to see if they were okay or even if they knew. My parents were okay, but informed me that the pentagon was not. More gurguling in my stomach. I was in a hurry to get back to tell my friends about the pentagon, so the conversation was pretty short.
When I got back everyone already knew, though I'm not sure how since only every four or so minutes would they show a frame of the pentagon, and it was up-close so you couldn't tell anyway.
The time was 10:28, I remember this quite vividly. We were watching in absolute shock and the Japanese people are still eating when the dorm manager walks in and says something in Japanese then points to his watch. Then he starts moving towards the TV to turn it off, and we were like "hey, our country is being destroyed and you’re not going to let us watch" (of course we couldn't say this because none of us spoke enough Japanese, so we just gestured). He points to his watch again, says it was 10:30 and that he had to turn off the TV. Now, go back and read the beginning of this paragraph. Maybe he thought it was just a movie or something, but it doesn't change the fact that he's a bastard. And to top it off, he said (and has actually done this for some people) that he would open the cafeteria if people wanted to watch TV.
So we did what we could to find another TV, but it was in vain. We ended up in my friend Chris' room on his computer IM-ing with one of his friends as his friend watched the news. Reality was bending. At one point there were 7 planes in the air, one had hit the Canadian Supreme Court building and another in Camp David. Then another time there were only 4 planes with one landing in a suburb in Pennsylvania. It was around 1AM when the rumors, the news and everything else sort of focused into one cohesive and unchanging picture. It was time to go to sleep. I played "Rebel Waltz" by The Clash and went to bed.
"We're going to hunt down the folks who did this". Folks? Who wrote that? And I particularly liked the collection of people of different races, genders, and ages placed behind President Bush. It must have been hard to find a group of people that diverse in such haste.
Speaking of haste, I can't believe we just declared war like that. I hear we're even trying to lift the ban on assassinations for this one occasion. Don't people realize that if we just kill Bin Ladin we are only going to inspire his people to fight harder? He's not so charismatic that without him his group wouldn’t survive. Probably attack something else.
So what do we do, declare war and just flood Bin Ladin and the Taliban with American fire. That's going to make the rest the Arab nations who already hate us that much more willing to start blowing up parts of America for themselves.
Certainly there are more moderate Muslim nations, but, when you just start killing people of a certain religion, don't you think that the other members of that religion should become concerned. So what, genocide for the entire Middle East (aside from Israel). You see how this could get gritty.
I remember seeing one of the African prime ministers saying that what the world needs right now is cool thought. Of all the times to have a complete retard in office after an entirely unbelievable election! Every time I hear Bush talk, he's talking about War, with a capital W so that it's an inconcrete noun. He's caught up in this child's dream of great countries and huge wars for Valor or Honor or Dignity. I don't even think he's thought about what those words mean so much as that he thinks we need "them". "We're going to bring these terrorists to Justice". What are we going to do, try them, or just go out and kill them? How is that "Justice". We have a "War" on terrorism now, as well as a "War" on drugs and a "War" on crime. This makes less sense then any of the English I've seen in Japan. And don't get me started on the whole analogy to the old west. It's stuff like the wanted posters and that god-awful benefit concert that causes countries to hate the US.
Why was Celine Dion singing "God Bless America" anyway? Isn't she Canadian?
The next day I had class as normal. All of the boys
I had been with that night had taken the whole event very hard. Every
one of the boys in my class took the day off. Even I who made it to class,
had skipped the first period. The girls all made it to class on time.
Women are strong I guess. In Japan the trains continued running, the day
was bright and sunny while still being comfortable. No one really looked
at me different, and it was only briefly addressed in class. Somewhere
a siren was ringing, but it wasn't anything out of the ordinary.
All works this site copyright D. Szkoropad, 2001-2003 unless stated otherwise. This means don't steal it or I'll tell your mother on you. Domo-kun copyright NHK.