Well, my husband Taki went out front to talk to the workers and find out what the plans were as far as connecting our pipeline to the new system. He, a taxpaying local national and the resident of this property, was told that they were going to hook up the hose on the front side that divides our house and his brother’s house to the new pipeline. He agreed to that specific explanation and stated that it would be unnecessary to remove the old pipe connection since that would entail unneeded destruction of the current planting area on the front of our property and didn’t interfere with the traffic flow of the road that was paved 8 years ago. This old pipe, which has little by little been removed each time new construction takes place, also originally served as a property line marker. Well, being the trusting citizen that he is, he left the workers alone to do their job. These are the exact same tactics that were used 8 years ago when the illegal (according to our understanding the local law that states all new homes must have a 5 meter access road prior to being authorized) building of a home took place. (Check out the Oct 27th post.) Once again even though we were home, the workers did not consult with the resident of the property prior to making changes that directly went against what was necessary. I’m sure they will be able to come up with some explanation by tomorrow. Welcome to the peace-loving island of Okinawa , as long as you are only visiting and putting out lots of money that is!!!
Well back on the homefront, I caught the pipeline workers digging with hand shovels into the flowerbed area that has been under dispute by the land developer for the past 12 years. It is not part of the new pipeline as outlined by City Hall or the subsequent remarked area laid out by the workers on Friday. When questioned as to why they were digging up land on our property that is and was not marked for the new pipe, they quit digging the area, for now.
With all the turmoil caused by Mom Nature in the past few weeks, even on Okinawa one has to wonder what in the world a leader of an area that has been faced with mass devastation is thinking when he starts a stand-off that results in the delay of aide to the citizens of the area. Does he really think that the appropriate time to play a red-tape game is when his own people are in dire need of help! Does he really think that the people who are risking their own lives to respond to the serious basic needs of the victims of a disaster that was not of their own choice or doing, but that of a natural disaster of epic proportions, are posing a serious threat by asking to maintain a thread of self-protection against unknown threats? These aid givers are under the constant observation of every news organization on the planet! Does the leader really think the aid givers are foolish enough to do anything other than help the victims of the disaster? Everyone knows they wouldn’t deny aid in situations of mass destruction! If this had been any less a caring and giving nation, these aid givers could have just as easily said no, we are not going to risk our lives for your countrymen if you won’t let us maintain a minimal degree of self-protection! Speaking of which, now that the leader’s request has been met, what is the leader of the devastated area doing to ensure the protection of those selfless aid givers?
Yesterday Taki and I had a chance to go see a couple of local shopping mall performances. The first was one of two 30 minute Hard Rock Minyo performances that included S.K.p Bonenkai Bash 2004 vocalist, Kenichi, and guitarist, Kaoru. The relatively new form of Minyo combined traditional folk minyo lyrics with “hard rock” electric guitars and synthesized prerecordings. The performance was a very enjoyable look at the possibliites available by remaining opened-minded and possessing a willingness to fuse the talents of seasoned artists of various genres of music in new and innovative ways.
The second was a shopping mall “street” performance by some young local hip-hop artists. I found this to be a refreshing use of youthful energy in a positive and constructive manner. Local success on the national J-pop scene (as with the rock scene) has to date been limited to less than a handful of artists. Unlike the local rock music scene of the ’70s, this will probably change in the next few years. Given the decline of the overall birth rate on mainland Japan, the music industry will be turning its eyes, and pockets, to the more promising and booming youth market of Okinawa. Here they can find a refreshing new generation of local untapped talent (who have had the opportunity to be exposed to the American pop music scene on a one on one basis) waiting to be the next big thing on the national music scene.
It is so unbelievable that I heard a representative of the American society say that sexual abuse in the Armed Forces is a crime, yet representative of the overall status of the American society! Basically what I heard was sexual abuse -rape, sodomy, etc. – is a no-no but because we need you men to fight the war against terrorism, it will take a lot of evidence to convict the radically physical violent crime against another human being as such! Well, if that’s the case why shouldn’t there be a Budafuko (please excuse my misspelling or inaccurate naming of the man who was dismembered) Act? After all, as far as I know being dismembered doesn’t stop a man from being able to physically serve his country! What it does do is hold a person who commits such a crime accountable for the violent physical abuse of another human being!
NOTE: It seems I did get the name of the dismembered man incorrect. I went to the experts, some other men – after all who would better remember the name of a man who was dismembered than other men – and the correct name should be the Bobbitt Act.
As I indicated the pipeline situation is of no surprise to me. I have lived on Okinawa for most of the past 32 years. During the time on Okinawa, I spent one year as a dependent daughter, two and one-half years as a civilian Sofa status employee, three and one-half years as active duty Air Force, and the rest as a regular registered alien – living the same situations and on the same economy as every other resident of the island, only as a foreigner. So what happened the other night DID come as a surprise. Taki and I were at a local shopping area when he decided to stop in at a KFC for take-out. While he ran inside, I waited in our vehicle. Suddenly there was a local national banging and shaking the rear of the vehicle. Thinking he was probably just intoxicated, I yelled through the window that he was making a mistake that it was not his car. He just kept accosting the vehicle with a blank stare on his face. I quickly locked the doors, and he stopped hitting the car then fell to the ground. After a few seconds, I cautiously propped my door and peeked to make sure he wasn’t having a heart attack or epileptic fit. But he was just sitting on the ground behind the vehicle. So I closed my door and he started attacking the car again. Then I took out my cell phone and began to dial Taki. He yelled something then straightened his jacket and walked off like a normal person strolling in the parking lot. A few moments later Taki returned and I began to tell him about the strange encounter. Suddenly he spotted the man attacking another woman’s vehicle as she was trying to pull out of the parking lot. Luckily for the woman another local man, Taki, I, and some other concerned citizens were able to remove him from the vehicle and she departed. Once again he just straightened his jacket and strolled in the parking lot. I’ve never seen such an openly outrageous act of behavior by a local national in a public area before this incident. One has to wonder if this is to become a more frequent occurence.
Well, destruction and construction seems to be the theme for 2005. Some construction workers came to mark where the new water pipeline I mentioned previously will be laid. The workers conveniently came Friday afternoon after 4pm (after City Hall is closed) and surprise, surprise, the marks are nothing like the notification we received. The notification indicated the pipeline would be placed equally between everyone’s property in the center of the road. The red paint markings indicate the construction is to take place right on top of our side of the property. I guess this is their idea of fair and equal treatment of all residents.
Here it is the beginning of a new year. If all goes according to the information we have been fed, construction on the new Music Town facility will begin within a few weeks. The construction actually starts with the destruction of a large area of buildings in the Gate 2 Street and hostess bar (Nakanomachi) sector. Gate 2 Street will be losing one of its historic facilities that in the ’70s housed Condition Green, one of the three bands classified as Okinawan Rock that made some headway on the Japanese market. The building is now the site of Hideaway, home of the mosh pit. (Also, on the agenda for destruction are Club Red, Shooters, Take One, Good Times, etc.) I don’t know if Hideaway owner, James, has plans to replace the mosh pit with a new one at one of his other facilities. The Heavy Metal regulars still have a couple of facilities available, such as nearby 7th Heaven and Fujiyama’s, in which to enjoy that particular genre of rock music. As far as the construction time frame, we’ve been told it will take approximately two years. So this year will mark the end of a part of Gate 2 Street that I have known since 1973. This event, in its own way, seems to epitomize that familiar saying “out with the old, in with the new.”
Happy New Year!!! If you’re new, this is a blog to share life on Okinawa as seen through the eyes of a foreigner who arrived in 1973. The experiences are of everyday life. Well it seems that the neighbor that I mentioned in the October 27th post was quite obsessed with obtaining a new pipeline. We just received a notice that the replacement pipeline will be placed down the center of the semi-new seven year old road right in front of our house. Which means destroying and repaving the road again! The approximately 100 meter job is suppose to take ten days. Let’s see how many land survey markers get paved over this time. In fact it is very common for roads to be laid and torn-up for new pipelines on a regular basis over here. Okinawa is a land of constant road construction. And each time smooth semi-new roads end up becoming so full of defects that it feels like riding on a bucking horse when a person is driving on them. As I said before, over here Murphy’s Law becomes a norm and gets taken in stride.
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