Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Photo by Dana John Hill. Taken from Wikipedia.
I've been thinking a lot about Japan lately. Maybe it's because of the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear breakdown that happened earlier this year. It could be - that all happened right when I had a newborn baby and though I was busy and tired, I also had a lot of time to think and listen to the news (he's a very hungry boy). Maybe it's because I want a Japanese Magnolia tree like the one in my parents' front yard. Maybe it's because during the week I was off before I had the baby, I re-read "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" by Haruki Murakami. Maybe having a tiny helpless baby in my care made me more open to the stories of people suffering. Maybe it's because while I was off on maternity leave, that show about geishas was on TV. I ate the last bowl of popcorn (a former favorite food that I now have no interest in whatsoever) since having the baby while watching it. Maybe it's because I've fallen in love with that woman Venetia and her show on PBS (we watched it again this weekend). I become so relaxed watching her, I don't know, make a tea cozy or arrange flowers. She's so deliberate and skilled at everything she does. It's like when Mister Rogers went to the crayon factory. She hypnotizes me.

Last week I got out my old copy of "Hiroshima" by John Hersey and started re-reading it while the baby was taking a nap. I think when I first read the book, as a teenager, I wasn't really paying attention. It's easy to focus on the people who survived and to allow the people who didn't, to slip past unnoticed. And, I'm not always a careful reader.

There's an excellent scholarly report on the publication of Hersey's book and the New Yorker magazine (which originally published the book as an article) here. I really enjoyed reading it.

There may be a way to link the bombing of Hiroshima (and Nagasaki) thematically with the earthquake/tsunami but I'm not a good enough writer or someone who has had enough sleep recently to do it. Even with enough sleep I doubt I could do it. I'm just thinking with my fingers, here. Tap, tap, tap, on the keyboard.

Tap. Tap.

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