Although it is the season of gentle breezes, the weather in May was actually quite turbulent. Tornadoes twirled, thunder roared and hail bounced off rooftops.
Here are some words to remember from May, when hydrangea blooms resembling pompoms signal the approach of the rainy season.
On May 5, Children’s Day, the last running nuclear reactor in Japan came to a halt. Kido Nakaaki, 82, who has continued to point out the dangers of nuclear power for nearly half a century as a resident near the Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga Prefecture, said: “The Japanese people experienced the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is natural for us to be sensitive. Although it is unfortunate that it took an accident to wake us up, the safety myth has collapsed. We must not allow the building of new nuclear power plants.”
It has been 40 years since Okinawa reverted to Japanese control. Chiyo Nakasone, 88, who runs a small restaurant under the roar of U.S. military jets, survived the Battle of Okinawa.
“When I hear the noise, I remember the grief of war,” she said. “No one should force others to do what they don’t want to do.”
The comment is in effect a protest against the Japanese mainland, which is forcing Okinawa to host U.S. military bases.
It has been 25 years since The Asahi Shimbun’s Hanshin bureau in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, was attacked by a terrorist. Nonfiction writer Atsushi Mizoguchi, 69, who has also been attacked by an unknown assailant, said: “If we show fear, the attacker would think violence is effective. I think it is the responsibility of victims to continue raising their voices.”
Blind rakugo storyteller Shofukutei Hakkaku, 55, who was hit by a train and seriously injured, is giving his first performance in three and a half years. Although he still suffers from aftereffects, he said: “If I can’t use my left hand, I will use my right hand. If I have difficulty pronouncing words that contain the ‘p’ sound, all I have to do is use other words.”
Shinya Miyamoto, 41, an infielder for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows, marked his 2,000th hit in May. Of all the players who have accomplished this feat, he has the fewest home runs and the largest number of sacrifices.
“Perhaps I established myself as a first-class backseat player,” he said.
It reminds us just how beautiful polished silver can be.
--The Asahi Shimbun, May 31
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Vox Populi, Vox Dei is a popular daily column that takes up a wide range of topics, including culture, arts and social trends and developments. Written by veteran Asahi Shimbun writers, the column provides useful perspectives on and insights into contemporary Japan and its culture.
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