Friday, December 4, 2015

Divine Warplane

Recently viewed The Wind Rises (aka Kaze tachinu, Hayao Miyazaki, dir., 2014), a Studio Ghibli anime about the life of Jirô Horikoshi, who designed the Japanese Mitsubishi Zeros that attacked Pearl Harbor on what FDR called “a day of infamy” (December 7th, 1941) three quarters of a century ago. America responded with faster, stronger aircraft which led to victory in the Pacific. In part an apology for aeronautical death and destruction, meant more to show how progress plays leap frog, film excels at depicting culture in a pre-WWII Japan struggling through fire storms and global depression peppered with folks on bicycles. In a typical still, a contemplative Jiro sees a cyclist while clutching his slide rule. Doesn’t connect his imaginative wing designs to bicycles, instead inspired by the curve of mackerel bones.

Japan has a well established jitensha culture with songs by Ore Ska Band (concludes Naruto Shippuuden anime), Shonen Knife’s famous Cycling is Fun, The Saboten, and Titan Go Kings. Makers include world class brands: Fuji, Panasonic, Shimano and Univega. Indeed many Schwinns were made there. As mentioned, Honda slapped a motor on a bike and the rest is history. But recent events and trends raise alarms: Earthquakes, nuclear accidents, tsunamis, typhoons, and with them the same desperation that led to WWII aggression. There’s also been a crackdown on cyclists behaving badly, with new ordinances carrying hefty fines. But blame USA, 1 of only 6 countries that after 23 years haven’t signed the Kyoto Protocol, for not shouldering environmental leadership. Nothing was done to address during disastrous Bush administration, and it took Obama until now to produce Climate Plan as a last ditch effort to garner a lame duck legacy. Of course, many signees haven’t enacted legislation to slow global warming, either, rather follow in America’s lazy, wasteful, but wildly profitable if unsustainable ways.

Not all scientific theories have a single answer or uniform resolution. Different locations face own issues. That's why they poll scientists and test theories. Humans do generally impact environment, causing extinctions of species and killing seas with pollution, just as other factors affected atmosphere over eons. There is no counterargument that justifies conservatives pillaging and raping nature, only ones used to forestall acting proactively and prudently. For a country so dependent upon the sea, Japan decimated its fisheries and warrants criticism for continuing its whaling operations. Japan remains the 5th largest emitter of air pollutants, having higher dioxin levels than any other G20 nation, that no divine wind will dissipate. Failure to conserve now resembles Kamikaze Tokkō Tai missions of old, remnants of honor and loyalty of the samurai Bushido code, which kill whoever delivers along with bystanders and targets. Better to pursue peace and ZPG policies. Tokyo is so overcrowded, people pay a lot to sleep in geki-sema, really just lockers. They even cram bicycles below ground.

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