The Story: Valentine

Akari Watanabe


It was Montreal Airport in the morning last February when they met each other. A lot of coincidences and situations created that opportunity. So in the fist gaze the boy was little confused. He recalled some very similar face in his memory but he denied to himself. Memories are not always good for our existence. Some memories are like unwanted grass in the field those stop the good crop to grow. Sad and painful memories take away our charm of life. But let us concentrate on the story not on the philosophy. So they met and the boy thought it was some illusion. He turned away his eyes and moved forward to board his flight. He was little sleepy. He closed his eyes. After some time he found that the girl is sitting just next seat to him. We don’t believe in miracles but who can deny that there are miracles all around us every day. Some loose their lives and many are saved every day because of one miracle or the other. So the miracle happened on that day too. Now he could not stop himself. He initiated the discussion. “How much time will it take to reach Narita?” She turned her face towards him and replied, “almost 12-15 hours, depending on the weather condition.” “I see, thank you”. In the mean time they got their drinks. He lost again in his memories. Can a face resemble to some one else so accurately? He asked to himself and felt pain, saddened with his past. As the plane took off they started discussing each other very comfortably. He asked to her, which place you belong to in Japan? “Fukushima” she replied coolly. “Oh! I see, the place of great disaster”, he told in a sympathetic manner. She just nodded her head and became quit.     
The plane was in the blue sky passing through dense clouds. He asked the hostess for his favorite red-wine and switched on the screen to watch some movie. While scrolling down the menu he came across ZEGEN, famous black comedy from Japan. He just chose that. The girl was having her orange juice. She looked at his screen just a matter of curiosity. But, ZEGEN forced her to ask him about movies, ”You like black comedies?” ‘Yes’ he replied by turning his face towards her. He took first deep gaze on her face for the first time. A male gaze is a powerful tool of communication; particularly females can read them very easily. So she received the message very loudly, and their relationship got changed. Now, they were not only co-travellers but also ‘more’ than that. The movie on the screen was going on but there was no one to watch that. Both of them were busy in talks about so many issues, movies, music, nature and places. He suddenly realized that they are not still formally introduced to each other. He introduced himself with enthusiasm, ‘my self Steve Jacob’. ‘Oh! Sorry for the late introduction’ the girl said and washed her hand with a tissue and moved her palm towards him. ‘My self Myta’, she holds his hand. ‘Myta’ never heard such a name in Japan’, Steve replied with surprise. ‘Yes but this is my first name’, she replied to clarify. She wanted to tell her family name but the person was in a little hurry. He just stopped her and said ‘Myta, I liked it, no need for more explanation. ‘Thank you, for liking it” she laughed as she was saying that you like the name and not me. Steve realized the mistake and corrected his statement, ‘I like you too’. She laughed loudly this time and their world changed suddenly.

A Greek mythology says—-we all are half and incomplete- . It happens so because of once the mighty God was angry with human beings. That time, the human beings were fully complete. There was no separation between male and female. But our ancestors committed mistakes and made the God displeased. He cursed us and divided us into two parts. Since then we are trying to unite but alas! there is no solution.  

To create a good understanding, sometimes, you don’t need much time. Myta  and Steve developed good understanding among themselves in last twelve-fifteen hours. They shared so many memories with each other. They found that they have very similar and common hobbies like playing chess, listening country music and trekking. It was 8.30 in the morning when their plane landed at Narita Airport.
To be continue:

"We will rebuild it. All together."

      Sayu Sekiguchi

The Open University of Japan
              (Hoso Daigaku)
       Faculty of Liberal Arts

Many a time we have seen the destruction by fire. There were several incidents in Edo-Japan that fire engulfed towns and properties of cultural and historical importance. The human civilization moves ahead despite natural calamities and man-made disasters. The fear of apocalypse is very much rooted in Japanese society. In modern history of Japan the great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and bombardment on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 changed the overall experience of life and death among common people of Japan. It is the great human will that inspires to survive and rebuild.
Recently, Notre Dame, Paris came under the grip of severe fire. There was quick response from the global community and culture and art lover. Many nations, including Japan, pledged to contribute sumptuous amount of money to rebuild the 850 years old historic site.  The process of reconstruction will start soon but it may take a decade or so to complete the work. As CBS News reported, ‘Bells tolled at cathedrals across the French capital exactly 48 hours after the fire began. Cecile Deleville can hardly look at the destruction she has worshipped there for 44 years’. There are many deep memories in people’s mind about Notre Dame.
We visit places not only for businesses but for nature and cultural assets too. A building is not just a structure. It becomes live in our heart. Notre Dame, the Great  Pyramids, Taj Mahal and many more are photographed and kept as a memories not only in our albums but in our hearts as well. Here is a sigh of relief. USA Today states, ‘Officials said other treasures inside the cathedral, such as a dozen large paintings of religious scenes and huge bells made famous by the bell-ringer in Victor Hugo's 1831 novel "The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” were also spared, after a plan to safeguard heritage was quickly put into action’. Millions of people across the world are still stunned with this fire.  It would be a big challenge to rebuild the cathedral. Despite money, other skills are required to rebuilding. Kare reported, The roof cannot be rebuilt exactly as it was because "we don't, at the moment, have trees on our territory of the size that were cut in the 13th century," said Bertrand de Feydeau, vice president of preservation group Fondation du Patrimoine, adding the roof restoration work would have to use new technology.
Also of concern, Feydeau said, is the organ, "a very fragile instrument, especially its pipes."
 There is pain and sorrow on this happening. Investigators are doing their job. Government is putting its best effort. UNESCO and other global agencies are seeking cooperation in rebuilding. At the end we have lost a historic treasure, which cannot be seen and loved anymore.   

Life is Delicious, Food is Precious

Life is Great in All Ages 

               Yuki Sakurai
Tokyo University of Agriculture & Technology, Tokyo, Japan
              ( Diet Researcher )


In various world indices the age considered to be old is different. In some countries, it is 62 whereas in others it goes up to 90. Life in the posterior part brings many psychological and social complexities. To cope with this situation one has to be joyous and stress free and the most essential thing is to eat nutritious food. As we move in the old age, we are favored in public places, with in the family and like that though there are always exceptions.  

We have enough time for ourselves and for our hobbies. Spare time is to contribute to society academically. There are a lot of recreational activities on screens and off the screen. Travelling and tracking provide a refreshing experience. The localized food and drinks give a different taste of life. To explore the nature for a longer time is quite charming. One can sit with the side of a sea-shore or watching snow flakes without any specific reason.    

If a person has commercial orientation, that can also be done. One can open a small café or a bookshop or something like that. An earning in old age is good for self and decreases the burden of the family. Earning and hobbies can go together and fill your mind with joy. Life is beautiful in all stages, one has to accept and relish the time he is passing through. 

Having good food, traveling to open spaces, running a cafe, reading books or watching movies will make old age a great and joyful experience.

Jerusalem: The Bone of Contention

Yusuke Sekimoto

United Nations University, 
Shibuya, Japan

Donald Trump, unilaterally, declared and gave recognition to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This created a sentiment of despair in the international community. Arab nations, as expected, protested the move put the issue in UN general assembly to discuss, debate and vote upon it. The results of the same were declared and the US was cornered completely as 128 nations supported the status quo.
Trump administration tries to give a strong message to other nations to follow it verdict and support its decision. The US ambassador to UN, Nikki Haley, issued a warning to UN and other countries to oppose the motion moved by the Arab nations or else face fund cuts. It didn’t work out. Only 9 countries, lesser known to people, opposed the move and the rest either choose to be absent or support the motion.
Jerusalem is a place where the confluence of three major religions happened viz. Judaism, Islam and, Christianity. In 1967, Israel annexed the East Jerusalem and declared its capital. It was opposed by international community and never recognized. Most of the nations maintain their diplomatic missions and embassies in Tel Aviv. Now, the US has decided to shift its embassy to Jerusalem. It will create an anxiety among Muslim nations and there are possibilities in an increase of violent clashes between Israel and Palestine.

Trump Administration has to learn a lesson from its defeat at UN floor and it must re-adjust its foreign policy. Developing nations are no more dependent on the US for their development and international existence. The emergence of China and India as an economic power posed a substantial threat to the US. Rather US economy cannot afford to lose a big market of China and India, inhabiting almost half of the world population. In this changed scenario, any egoistic decision will be turned down severely. Oliver Stuenkel in his book, Post Western World, has categorically indicated the rise of the Asian Countries particularly China and India. The western countries will not dictate the new world order but it is going to be defined by the Asia or the rest of the world. 

Political administrations all across the globe are unable to cater the wishes and demands of their people. They need superficial issues to engage the general public of their countries. It is a mechanism to divert the attention of common people from the issues of employment, better life and clean air. Jerusalem is such an issue, which is emotionally attached to the followers of Judaism, Islam and, Christianity.
There are violent clashes among Israeli army and Palestinians since the US declaration. Though the global community has turned it down, there is a doubt that America will propagate its agenda. It will also provide an opportunity to radical Islamist groups, like ISIS, to consolidate Muslim resentments and revive them. The US has to understand that, such decisions will affect the world order and global peace processes. It is neither necessary nor important in a contemporary international scenario. A soft power can serve the purpose.

Editorial Note on Indian Home Rule by M.K.Gandhi

By Dr. Ram P Dwivedi & Dr. Sanjay Kumar
University of Delhi
Delhi, India


The contemporary politics and civilizational framework have brought distress and created elusory conditions to the common folk all across the globe. Marxism and other dominant ideologies are no more trusted by the people. New paradigms like ‘Post-truth’ and ‘Post-postmodernism’ are emerging in the intellectual arena. Nations getting sovereignty and freedom but in new global economic scenario interdependency among countries is on the rise. Gandhian philosophy is yet to be tested by the governments. Clashes among civilizations are on the rise not among the nations but within a homeland as well. Political ideologies and parties are dividing their own citizens on the basis of race, color, caste, religion, region and other identities to gain and retain power. It is a time of technology-controlled information. ‘Filter-bubble’ is a well-discussed phenomenon among social scientists. Under these circumstances, there is a dire need to find a solution for a larger population. In our opinion, this book-Hind Swaraj or the Indian Home Rule is still relevant and moves our thought process. 
The idea of democracy has come under the lens of the political pundits. There is vast use of money, media and muscle power to win the elections and formation of governments. Use of cultural, religious tools cannot be justified to gain authority. How to fight with our opponents is another issue, which has been discussed in the book. In a democracy, the existence of opposition has a very constructive role to implement the policies and get them corrected. Criticism is not a threat but an opportunity to introspect, which is lacking in the present time political scenario. Respect for others and the unwanted is an art, which one should learn for a healthier democratic environment. The Indian Home Rule is full of such inspirations.  
It is marvelous writing of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. It presents discourses on the Western and Indian civilization, the role of machinery in human life, the need of medical sciences, role and responsibilities of journalists and media, the judicial system, religious thoughts, the railways and the politics of power and good governance. The process of Globalization, Free Market and Liberalization are heading towards a new failure. The purpose of this book to present before you, again, is to energize and revitalize your minds in the time of pessimistic politics. This writing also gives strength to struggle and opens avenues to introspect. Written in dialogic form, this book should be re-read by those who want to do politics of Swaraj and still have a hope to shape the society. Developmental issues have become part of our daily life. They are setting agenda for doing politics and guiding the voters. Gandhi has criticized the very development concept under the aegis of capitalism. As a citizen, we have to evaluate the need for development forwarded by the politicians and projected by the media, on the basis of the ideas given in this work.  
The questions of ‘Ruling and the Ruled’ rose by Gandhi almost a century ago, are still relevant. The contemporary political, cultural and economic landscape of India does not present a positive roadmap for farmers and youth of the country. Unemployment and depression emerged due to it filling the minds with violence and hatred. The social and cultural divide is quite prevalent. Gandhi shows us the way for nation-building and character upliftment. When dissemination of information has become a fingertip affair, one has to be cautious what to put in public domain. Cultural dominance hampers the harmony of the society, Gandhi elucidates. The brute force has no role in our civilization. The Reader and the Editor, of this book, finally give a vibrant message to all rulers to be judicious and non-violent. The simplicity of the language is another fascination to read it.

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