How about a couple more pictures from this lovely city:
Make your own Kimono!
A *nudge*nudge*wink*wink* Book Store
The Hotel Clement
The Japanese like to dress up their post boxes. This one has the Awa Odori dancers of Tokushima on it.
Let’s see if I can get a few pics out of the way here; but first a few comments. Firstly, many thanks to my buddy and his kind, hard working wife (both of whom shall remain nameless on this site unless they specify otherwise) for inviting me and my family over for their wedding ceremony and subsequent tour of Japan.
Secondly, a little politics. My coworker had asked me what the people in Japan thought of Bush. I thought about it a bit, and apart from a mention of the convention that appeared in the English language paper, The Japan Times, I was hard pressed to remember any mention of American politics anywhere. This is quite typical though; politically active Americans are given to think the rest of the world tracks our movements religiously, when the reality is, the rest of the world couldn’t really give a flying fig. This is as it should be since politics which affects people locally should be of the greatest concern. Anyways, during most times, most Americans don’t give a flying fig either. I was, quite frankly, happy to get away from the noise for a while. (FYI, most Japanese news that I caught concentrated on the Olympics, the nasty weather, the Olympics, that horrid business in Russia, and the Olympics).
Lastly some international relations. My buddy had commented that a friend who travels to France regularly (I’ve met the guy, and no he’s not a homosexual) says that he gets good treatment until he whips out the blue passport of the U.S.. From then on, he reports, you get the nasty French behavior that is such a staple for late night comedians. A Japanese man we had dinner with (who spoke excellent English) reported that he was apprehensive about traveling to the states because they fingerprint all foreign visitors. I told him that I thought it was a crock as well, since the U.S. government was only making a point to fingerprint everyone, so as not to offend the Saudi’s, whose fingerprints they truly desire. I must report that my treatment in Japan ranged from normal to quite (and sometimes too) friendly.
The first couple days, we stayed in Tokushima. I was quite excited about this portion of the trip since the Tokushima prefecture is not represented much on the web. We didn’t stay as long as I would’ve liked (pressed for time and all), but I did get a few good shots. A couple follow below:
A newspaper stand in the Osaka airport. This is all the further I had to travel to see some Japorn first hand.
An alley in Tokushima
Bad movies know no geographic boundary
Building which houses the lift cars and the Awa Odori dance museum
Traffic symbol in the road.
The latest issue, though, contains an article which trots out some worn out arguments about world hunger. I’m disappointed by the fact that it was not more well informed since the missionary who wrote it, Fr. George Berendt, has obviously been ‘down in the trenches’ where these problems exist.
He starts off with the following point:
In 1993 the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported that enough grain is grown to supply every human being with 3,500 calories per day.
Now I cannot attest to the veracity of this, but it would appear that he is already dooming whatever later arguments he might make based on this fact since this would mean any hunger is a logistics issue and not a supply issue. The number seems off at first to me (That’s a lot of calories, and just in grain), so I would probably work from the assumption that grain raised for livestock is taken into this factoid. He goes on to get in a dig at the great Satan:
Based on a Census Bureau report, 3.8 million American families were hungry last year. For the last three years hunger has been increasing in America.
I would have thought he just made this up since America is well known to go against thousands of years of human history by having the lower classes plumper than the upper classes. However, this site points out the basis for this assertion:
Though media confidently quoted the hunger numbers, a closer look reveals that the evidence is deeply flawed.
…Depending on the questions, a survey can magnify the appearance of real need by confusing it with something called “food insecurity,” a subjective perception. For example, the Radimer/Cornell University hunger scale defines hunger as, “the inability to acquire or consume an adequate quality or sufficient quantity of food in socially acceptable ways, or the uncertainty that one will be able to do so.” Research using that definition found in New York state in 1993 an astonishing 47 percent of women surveyed were “hungry.”
Hell, I’m hungry right this friggin’ minute (don’t worry, it matters not when you’re reading this), so I guess I go in the starving category as well! Fr. George takes some time to take junior Satan to task:
Let’s look back on the Irish Potato Famine for some clues….During the Famine, Ireland was an exporter of food. The same blight that destroyed the potato harvest in Ireland also destroyed the potato harvest across northern Europe as well. Why only in Ireland did people die from hunger? The reason is simple: colonization.[?!?!] When the British colonized Ireland, they threw the Irish off the land, claimed it as theirs and left marginal land for the Irish to farm.
What trolley truck did this guy drive in on? Did he learn history from the back of an IRA pamphlet? As Derbyshire at NRO points out, the real problem was one of despair surrounding a problem which could probably not be solved:
For years before the famine it was perfectly obvious that Ireland was heading for a demographic catastrophe. Everybody knew this, and many said so Anthony Trollope, for example, who knew Ireland well (and whose novel Castle Richmond, by the way, includes the only account of the famine by any contemporary novelist of quality). From 1801 to 1841, the Catholic population of southern Ireland quintupled. A thing like that is hard not to notice. And yet, within the political thinking of the time, nobody, not even the best-intentioned and most charitable observers, could think of anything to do to avert the coming disaster. Britain was a minimum-government state, ill-equipped for the sort of speedy, wide-scale relief the situation called for.
As for Fr. George’s quip about Ireland being a food exporter during this time, I’m given to think he pulled that fact from the same source from which he’d drawn his conclusion; and it is thus in doubt. It’s veracity, however, would still not support his ill drawn conclusion. He continues on in the same vein for some time, saying that Europeans, Americans, and Japanese kick the natives off their ‘good’ land while the natives are left to starve on their ‘poor’ land. This good Christian fires up some good old fashioned American Indian paganism and goes on to lament the fact that westerners don’t know how to
worship take care of the land:
Westerners, however, often see land as a commodity from which to extract as much as they can and in any way they can and in any way they can.
Now wait a minute chummy, I thought you were just lamenting the fact that the natives (supposedly) couldn’t get any money out of the land, surely they would be in league with the Great Satan if they were to be as greedy as the colonizers are with the land; better that they remain victims. All this should be a non-issue though because of all the excess production he sited at the beginning of the article. But wait, might that production/logistics problem have more to do with the issues you sight than anything else?
As it turns out, Fr. George is on the right path in looking for a villain, but puts forth the wrong charge. Food issues in the developing world are caused by a couple big issues, just a few are below: