Pretty Words for Pretty Things

Motojirō Kajii exclaims in his story ‘Under the Cherry Trees’ (1928):
Dead bodies are buried under the sakura! You have to believe it. Otherwise, you couldn’t possibly explain the beauty of the sakura blossoms. I was restless, lately, because I couldn’t believe in this beauty. But I have now finally understood: dead bodies are buried under the cherry trees.

Now more than ever, I want to visit Japan and fit straight into the gawking tourist stereotype.


Your Right, but is it Right?

I hear this more often than I’d like: “I have the right to…”

Yes, you probably have the right to whatever it is you claim to have the right to do, but it does not mean you get to do it without any consequences.

Having a right to something does not mean it is the good thing to do. Do you have the right to listen to your music with your phone speakers turned up on public transport? Yes. Is it the good thing to do? Most commuters will be quick to say no. Are they entitled to express their disagreement? Sure, but few of us exercise that right, because the consequences may include verbal, or worse, physical violence.

More people need to understand the difference.

Or perhaps we just need to be kinder to one another.

“Do unto others 20% better than you would expect them to do unto you, to correct for subjective error.”
– Dr. Linus Pauling

Three Years

He watches as someone else’s daughter, barely old enough for primary school, jump happily while telling her mother “Mummy, mummy! Daddy’s back!” Mummy smiled, both at her daughter and at the prospect of Daddy perhaps staying put for a bit.

He had no such reception. Too tired for dinner but to early for bed, Lin missed his family – the one he left behind three years ago to search for a better life. Pity.