World War II

Ni-chome’s omasturi photos

Ni-chome, Tokyo’s gay bar district in Shinjuku, hosted a summer festival, or omatsuri, the day after the Tokyo Pride Parade two weekends ago. Lots of color: traditional omikoshi, or portable shrine carrying; drag and summer yukatas; foreigners looking Japanese and Japanese looking foreign; some youths who look alien in their highly processed hair; an odd World War II cosplay (even more bizarre since the date was August 15, which marks Japan’s surrender); and a variety of frozen ice, giant sausages on sticks, and plenty of beer in cans.

The Clauses have invaded Japan

The Clauses have invaded Japan

Last week I visited a beautiful historic town in the countryside. A mix of not being firebombed in World War II and some extraordinary historic preservation makes this town a magnet for Japanese and foreign tourists looking to experience Edo Japan. And then I stumbled upon this horrid Xmas store, and felt I had been instantly transported to any suburban mall in any town or city in Amerika. Major yucks!

Bomb found at school near house

Police tape, bomb scare at school nearby

Walking home before lunch, the small street near my house was blocked with police tape and many many young police men. Peering past the police line, I saw some official looking daddies in dark suits moving about. The location is just down the small street from the destroyed house and near or possibly inside the grounds of an elementary school.

My Japanese is so bad. After speaking to several of the police, I understood there was a missile. I asked if it came from North Korea, which has been recently threatening to launch a long-range missile in the Pacific. I was assured that it did not land today. Another cop told me it was 50 years old.

This is what North Korean’s 1998 Taepodong missile looks like. 

North Korean missile

Once home, the husband explained that World War II bombs are still being found throughout Tokyo. It’s probably not an immediate threat, but still kind of a shock after 60 years to feel the presence of the fire-bombing.