13.11.16

The Majority

US Population:
318,900,000

People eligible to vote:
218,959,000

People registered to vote:
146,311,000

Votes cast:
126,622,225

Votes for H. Clinton:
60,319,493

Votes for D. Trump:
60,034,250

Mr. Trump was actively chosen by 27,4% of all eligible voters.
He was chosen by 41,0% of all who were registered to vote.
He was chosen by 47,4% of all who cast a vote.
H. Clinton received 285,243 more votes than Mr. Trump.
Mr. Trump was actively chosen by 18,8% of all US citizens.

Regardless of what numbers I use, Mr. Trump has been chosen by an active minority.

(Source)

10.11.16

Tana, Aoba

The old guys by the counter look like they're just one joke away when they alert the young, deeply concentrated female librarian of my presence. I hand her the book just finished, and return a few moments later with two new ones. Meanwhile, the warmth from the air-con is drying up what's left from the October rains; winter is arriving.

The International Lounge lights a large room by Tana Station, Japanese volunteers managing an old library with taped books to read, slightly worn but strongly inked guides on gardening, cooking, festivals, meditation, and the sources to winning those things to your everyday life (work).

Some eight minutes away lies the farmer's market. This area of Yokohama is semi-rural, and paddies, plots and other nurseries scatter between suburban mats, roads, and the covered tracks of the Den-En-Toshi line. The mushrooms odour is instant; it's our first time. After debating the choice between sweet potato and persimmon for a while, we leave the market and head for the super-market. Working-class at heart, the meat is cheap and jagged along the edges, and a kuriimu-pan leaves the store and quickly disappears on our way back.

Tokyu Store washes around its customers like a singing tide.
Bit by bit the white-buttoned workers sail in through the gates.
Azamino goes ashore; we are home.

It's time.

Future and past are put to the side. Now I build.

6.11.16

Nothing is so stupid as to take the possible for the actual

If the Nipponese reaction to 3/11 has been a form of collective neurosis, then the Occidental reaction to the American election and Syrian civil war is a form of collective hysteria.

It's not leaders who tear our cities, societies and nations apart anymore, but the people. There's hardly a voter today who can cast a vote without wanting smash in the head of those who vote against him or her, and I am so repelled by my own culture I hardly feel any form of empathetic reaction these days. The rational reaction, though, is that this severe interpersonal immaturity is having very tangible and measurable consequences for those strictly unable to intervene and strictly not practically concerned by it. At present, involvement with the political issues of the day is not a choice; the economy is affiliated with the political sphere to the degree that the volatility of salaries and currencies are having a major effect on the quality of life in low- and middle-income households. These find themselves unable to direct the course of events in any other way than by a vote, yet, in truth, they are one prime cause of their own trouble in stirring up the events that are occurring right now. This combination, of a decline in true care for society and ascent of the childish assertions of "individual rights" (i.e. "me"-rights), drove the worldwide recession in 2008 as much as the unrest in democratic states in 2016.
    Political neglect of the repercussions "austerity" would have on the lives in average households produced a very economical response. All major markets are significantly depressed because of an almost global social instability, which is to say, when politicians put fiscal easing and negative interest ahead of social security and infrastructure, they disregarded the effect this would eventually have on the market. Major companies desire stability as much as the consumers, because it is the consumers who buy their products and services, after all. "Austerity", on the other hand, clearly points to the root of the problem: unnecessary spending, speculation, agitation, and, as we have today, doomsday prophesying (it is aids us as much as a priest in a surgery room, yelling "he's gonna die! we're fucked! everything will go to hell!" over and over again, while the doctor tries to do his job). That is not an economical problem, nor will it be solved by a booming economy. The problem is frankly moral.
    The best that can happen is that the election serves as a major turning point from governmental market intervention (which is not their job, anyway; governments run countries, not consumer banks) to acts of social improvement. The worst is that there is no major overhaul of societal values accompanying it. Thus, the problems will return, a slow and painful process breaking down Occidental civilisation to its petty, violent, provincial origins. That includes the United States, which haven't been so "un-united" in centuries. Hardly ever before have we argued for proper moral behaviour so much, hardly ever have we violated them so much ourselves.
    The provisional clause of this post is simple; it is its title. A prediction for the future can serve only as an expression of ill feeling of the present, thus it is in the present work has to be done. Up until recently I considered that to be part of my own societal responsibility. But that is now in the past. Void of that aforementioned emotional reaction, I see no reason to cast a vote anymore. The best decisions I've made in the past year were not only to intellectual secede, but to secede in terms of that responsibility as well. This is a practical reflection of, as you know, forceful mistreatment in Swedish health care, as much as the sense of abandonment newcomers face in Japanese society. The ones that have helped were, quite simply, sincere individuals. It it to those I direct my attention, not to society. The work to be had in society lies with those who expect society to work for them. I do and expect neither.
    In that sense, what is good about this election is that we are all making choices. In essence, I made mine years ago, although not very consciously. I haven't voted in Sweden since 2006, and soon I will not be registered there, either. Those decisions, although right, were consistently accompanied with doubts, though. At present, there is none. By extension, there's no faith to be had in the system of representative democracy of the global capitalist kind, anymore. The specificity of this denunciation implies the existence of many other paths to explore, many other vehicles to build. They do not include a society that shames non-participation more than violence, selfishness, and stupidity. Western societies do not have the candidates they deserve, but the ones they desire. Choosing not to participate in hysteria is to retain responsibility for the world that remains, which is, after all, neither heaven nor hell.

Jacques Barzun: "The strongest tendency of the later 20C was Separatism. It affected all earlier forms of unity. /.../  as one partisan of the new goal put it: 'Salad bowl is better than melting pot.'"

Sydney Smith (19C): "Nothing is so stupid as to take the actual for the possible."

3.8.16

I got married yesterday

7 years and still the same.

1.8.16

Monday morning in Kabukicho

I also took photos of a life-size Godzilla and the New Sky / Gunkan / Battleship Building, but those photos came out a bit too boring to be posted directly here.