Yujiro Taniyama, CEO Japan Broadcasting.net
America honors its fallen heroes.
That’s probably the true greatness of America. And that’s what I learned yesterday afternoon, when I met one brave woman, Theresa at an old shrine in the off skirts of Tokyo.
This beautiful lady, from Illinois also had a lucid mind with voracious appetite to learn about Japanese culture.
“At the top of the temple, I saw a huge statue of two dogs. One had its mouth open, while the other had it closed. Can you tell me why?” , she asked.
To my shame, I did not know the answer.
“Good question. Those dogs are called KOMA-INU. They are de facto guard dogs that protect the shrine from evil spirits”
Theresa nodded. “I see, but what do we make of the ‘mouth’?”
“To be honest, I don’t know. I sincerely apologize for my ignorance”
One elder man that stood next to the lady made a little laugh. He resembled Clint Eastwood in a way. Together, they were visiting Japan for about two weeks.
By the way, I later learned that day that the KOMA-INU on the right usually has its mouth wide open and the one on the right ‘closed’. And that the former is barking the sound “A”, while the latter “UN”. According to some sources I found on the internet, these ‘dogs’ are in fact mythical creatures and not precisely ‘dogs’. And that they signify 「阿吽 =A UN」- the first and the last words of the alphabet of Sanskrit.
And subsequently, it derived the meaning “From the beginning to the end of life and the universe”. The Japanese alphabet today also starts from “A” and ends with “UN”.
So I suppose in a broader sense, we can understand that the ‘auspicious dogs’ are there to emphasize the greatness of the whole galaxy.
The collision on Aug.21, 2017
“On August 21, 2017, 10 sailors were killed when the destroyer collided with an oil tanker as it entered the busy waterway into the port of Singapore. The collision occurred two months after seven sailors were killed when the destroyer USS Fitzgerald collided with a container ship off the coast of Japan” (ABC News, May 25, 2018)
I remember the tragic accident that occurred consecutively last year, and had a big impact on me since they had both departed from Yokosuka, a naval port in Japan.
At the same time, I recall being emphatically apoplectic pondering “Who’s responsible for this? A flawed leadership that took the lives of so many young brave men?”.
This was a time when the North Korean ‘Fatty’ Mr.Kim was intimidating Japan with his ICBM toy and nukes. U.S President Trump was also busy downplaying him as a ‘little rocket man’. And I must admit that when these two fatal incidents occurred, I became wary of the “Greatest military in the world” – that somehow kept crashing into commercial ships due to negligence and order.
Especially when the national security of Japan hugely relies on defense-treaty with Washington, it could not be overlooked.
We humans are pretty dumb that we often forget important things.
On the other hand, we remember unnecessary things like the ‘Blue GAP dress’ of the great bravado Ms.Monica Lewinsky.
So when I coincidentally banged into Brandon (U.S Navy strongman) at the shrine yesterday, and had a conversation with Theresa and ‘Clint’, it kindled a zeal of patriotism and pride within me.
“My son died in the USS John McCain collision last year”
I was left speechless when the blond lady told me her story.
Theresa’s son Logan was just 23 when the critical accident sent him to heaven. “He arrived at Yokosuka in May last year, and also left there on the same month. Then it happened”.
She showed me the photo of the great handsome man on her silver pendant.
It read 【REMEMBER PO2. LOGAN PALMER】. Poignant and stunned, there was a few seconds silence in the old shrine where people in Kimonos were also paying a visit.
What also moved me deeply was the fact that this beautiful mom whose beloved son was taken away from her had the indisputable strength and courage to share her sensitive story with a total stranger like myself. I had introduced myself as the “Most crazy outspoken Samurai in Japan” – which is probably true, and also probably eased our tensions.
Theresa was also an elastic thinker and savvy about politics.
She spoke her mind, on immigration and upcoming election – something I adore and undeniably lacks in the mind of the Japanese. In my country, there’s a saying “沈黙は美徳: CHINMOCK WA BITOCK” – meaning silence is beautiful. And such ‘silence’ is unfortunately ubiquitous in Japanese society. Not only is such a mentality misleading, its obsolete especially when we have the rise of our great neighbor China both militarily and economically.
Furthermore, unless you speak out, the world will easily forget critical matters.
Had it not been for Theresa’s brave heart to share her story of Logan, I would have never learned that such young American heros made ultimate sacrifices for their beloved nation but also for defending the Japanese people under the 1960 defense treaty then signed by PM Kishi and US President Eisenhower.
“You know what Theresa” , I said
“We the Japanese today are so dumb and complacent that most of us are ignorant of the fact Logan and his fellow comrades died on duty, protecting peace and stability for us as a whole”.
Of course when I say dumb, I myself is included.
Jackie Kennedy may have been capricious, but that goes the same with the descendants of the former Samurais, now nothing but a flock of sheep that’s deprived of the mentality of military independence. The Samurais are dead today. Without and American hero such as Logan, the national security of my nation would be under a grave risk.
CCP (Chinese Communist Party) hegemony shall result in pandemonium in the near future unless an appropriate measures are taken ‘by the Japanese themselves’. Our current overly subservient stance on Washington is counterproductive not only for Mr.Trump but for Tokyo as a nation. I recall the U.S President commenting “Isn’t Japan a country of Samurais? Why didn’t they just shoot the North Korean missile down?” after Pyongyang fired two ICBM mussels on 29 August and 15 September last year over Hokkaido.
Trump is correct.
And I deeply anticipate on the future of the little subordinate nation of gadgets and automatic toilets.
Rest In Peace 10 American Samurais
United States of America is not a perfect country, as far as I know.
But there’s no denying the fact that it’s a great one. Especially its eye opening how deeply their veterans and heros are respected. It’s not an understatement to underscore that spirit is the fabric of American strength, because without it no country is eligible to become a true global power.
“I’ve got a bracelet that has the names of all the ten sailors that died on the ship”, Theresa said.
The benign lady from Illinois is the true Samurai, I thought.
Jacob Daniel Drake, Dustin Louis Doyon, Charles Nathan Findley, John Henry Hoagland III, Logan Stephen Palmer, Kenneth, Abraham Lopez, Kevin Sayer Bushell, Corey George Ingram, Timothy Thomas Eckels Jr.
Theresa always carries the souls of the fallen American heros with her, no matter where she goes.
Tomorrow, 1 year anniversary of the US destroyer McCain will take place at the Yokosuka U.S Navy base.
Now I know why Theresa and ‘Clint’ is currently visiting my country.
Shall the souls of the 10 brave men Rest In Peace.
Thank you Theresa, for sharing your precious story once again.
Japan must honor fallen American heros today.