Saturday, April 9, 2011

Japan, Cherry Blossoms, and 'a Limit to Extreme Self-Restraint'

"Japan's beloved cherry blossoms help dispel some disaster gloom"
Paul Eckert, Edition: U.S., Reuters (April 9, 2011)

"After the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster struck last month, Japanese were asked to scrap celebrations for the beloved cherry blossom season and practice self-restraint.

"But as the annual pink wave that heralds spring rolled up the Japanese archipelago to Tokyo this weekend, the campaign for 'jishuku' lost out to appeals to shake off the funereal mood and partake in traditional, rice wine-fueled 'sakura' parties, for the sake of the nation's psyche, and economy.

" 'Too much self-restraint will strip away peace of mind and plenitude from everyday life, and destroy the nation's vitality. This will drag down economic activity, which will hinder recovery efforts in disaster areas," said the conservative Yomiuri Shimbun in an editorial....

"...Japanese officials had canceled rock concerts, sporting events and other entertainment after the March 11 quake.

" 'For the disaster-struck areas to recover their vitality, the entire Japanese economy needs to be vibrant,' said Yoshihiro Murai, the governor of Miyagi, the prefecture closest to the epicenter.

"' I would like to see a limit to extreme self-restraint,' he told local newspapers...."

The Lemming doesn't have inside information about Japanese culture: but not scrapping a traditional festival seems to make sense.

Particularly when practicing that sort of self-restraint would - in effect - slap a boycott on quite a few folks who already have a great deal to cope with.

Like the fellow who lost part of his business - and many of his customers:

"...Up in Miyagi, third-generation sake, or rice wine, brewer Kaichiro Saito, 52, lost a shop and recipes dating back to when his grandfather started the business in 1903 in the March 11 tsunami that obliterated the fishing port of Kesennuma.

"The Kakuboshi Brewery was located on higher ground and survived untouched. But with about 80 percent of regular customers lost when the deadly tsunami washed away liquor shops and bars in the devastated port city, he needs new outlets for his output of 80,000 bottles a year.

" 'Of course I understand why people are being restrained, but I hope those living in other regions -- in a decent financial and emotional state -- buy more products from northern Japan, rather than restrain themselves,' he said...."

The Lemming thinks that 'restraint' is probably a good idea - for folks who lost their homes, livelihood, and family. They've got fewer resources to work with now - and need to be more careful.

But 'restraint' that keeps those folks from earning money? That, in the Lemming's opinion, doesn't make sense.

Doesn't the Lemming Care?

There's no question, in the Lemming's mind, that folks in northwestern Japan are not having a good year. At all.

Whether or not the March 11, 2011, earthquake was the "worst" to hit Japan in recorded history is a matter of what a person looks at. It was the most powerful: but the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake killed a great many more people.

But, as the Lemming put it before, 2011 isn't 1923. (March 29, 2011)

Comparisons aside - what happened in March of this year was a massive tragedy.

But, in the Lemming's opinion, no amount of moping around and hurting the business of folks who didn't get killed is not going to bring back any of the folks who lost their lives.

It's not just the business owners that get hurt when - for example - folks don't buy saki. Kaichiro Saito almost certainly didn't produce and distribute 80,000 bottles a year all by himself. The Lemming figures that he hired folks to get many of the tasks done. Without customers buying Kakuboshi Brewery products, the company's owner won't have money to pay his employees.

Maybe it would be a 'better' world if nobody drank saki, or played Cribbage, or did anything except recycle compost. Or whatever the 'right' thing to do is.


That's not the world we live in.

As for the idea that 'those dirty [explitive]s deserved it?' The Lemming discussed that in another blog:Related posts:More:

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