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Friday, April 25, 2014

WHO AM I?

I'm an American born in Hawaii of Japanese parents.  I've lived for periods in Southern and Northern California, Louisiana and Washington, D.C.   Sometimes I wonder why I regularly catch the Shinkansen to every corner of Japan, as I'm now doing. 

This has something to do with searching for my roots, as I've done, several times.  I've particularly focused on my father's father, Kenjiro, my namesake, for I"m Patrick Kenji Takahashi.  Kenjiro's parents are from Akita in Northern Honshu, where I've spent the past couple of days.  They were early pioneers sent to Hokkaido in the later 1800's, and Kenjiro was born in Otaru, then the family moved on to Sapporo and, finally, Utashinai, which is way up north.

It is my speculation--and I've been to the City Office of Utashinai, where I found some credible information about Kenjiro's family--that coal was found, the first company to mine for this resource was formed in 1890, and Kenjiro was sent to America to learn about coal, especially, I think, how to mine for it.  In 1900 he stopped by Kilauea, Kauai on his way home, was involved in the first hydroelectric power plant as a supervisor, got married, sired my father, and in 1906, two months before the facility was made operational, fell at the site and died.  This system produced 3 megawatts then, and today, 108 years later, is still producing 3 MW.

Last night, I had an epiphany, a revelation, about who I was.  A few days ago, one of my postings had to do with the enigma that is Prime Minister Shintaro Abe.  I think I can now better explain why the Japanese are so enigmatic, with Abe epitomizing the nature of the people. 


To begin with, I'm an American liberal Democrat, attempting to explain a Japanese Liberal Democrat, Abe, who is the equivalent of a conservative American Republican.  From my viewpoint he is doing everything wrong--pro-nuclear, pro-coal, wishy-washy on the renewables, pro-miitary spending, will double the sales tax by next year to 10%--but seemingly successful in propping up the economy.  He is vey popular, unlike President Barack Obama, who too like me is a liberal Democrat from Hawaii, and by most measures successful:  the USA is the only Supreme Power left, our economy is close to again breaking an all-time stock market high, we are pulling out of the Middle East, where wars, started by Republicans, have cost us up to $3 trillion, and we are the envy of the world.

So why is Abe popular and Obama not?  First, the Obama part has something to do with the success of the Republican propaganda machine.  The American way of politics does that to people and reputations.  Amazingly enough, the people fall for it.

Japan has overcome Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the devastation of World War II (and most don't realize that cities such as Tokyo, Sendai and Aomori, my three most recent stops, were leveled by American air raids) and is now trying to cope with Fukushima.  Yet, the Japanese don't hate us.  In fact, there is high respect, if not a sense of continued dependency.  And Hawaii, they go into paroxysms of wonderment and envy when I mention I'm from Hawaii.  Remember Pearl Harbor?  This has to do with their culture.

Prime Minister Abe is popular because the Japanese have the will to survive--Fukushima was devastating--and Abe is their best hope for success today.  It is a kind of fantasy that their economy is doing well.  Consider that the all-time high for the Nikkei was the equivalent of 73,000 in 1989, and they are in the range of 15,000 today, but almost double what it was after that Great Tohoku Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Cataclysm on 11March2011.  Thus, to a person, people I talk to say their economy is sound and getting better.  The attitude is positive and they could be well on their way to further progress.

So who am I?  I'm just a lucky soul who is Japanese, born in Hawaii, went on to Stanford, somehow became an engineering professor, maintained good health, traveled the world a dozen times and on the eve of entering a seniors community, realizing my good fortune.  I've done the best I could, planted the seeds for the Blue Revolution, and close now to five years of daily blogging, fulfilled my destiny, which has everything to do with my name, Takahashi, which means high bridge.  I've served as the link between nations and cultures desiring to take the higher road to cooperation, here in color showing the essence of my family mon, a rainbow bridge connecting countries across the ocean:


These are the front and and back covers of SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Planet Earth.

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1 comment:

pattygolden said...

Such a joy to read! Thanks!