Sunday, September 26, 2004

My Favorite Suit

The other day, I was walking in a brown suit. Then an ex-pilot of the U.S. Navy spoke to me, saying, "General, don't you go to Iraq?" (Read details in a recent story of my "Femto-Essay" site.) It seems that he thought me in that suit to be a high-rank officer of the Self-Defense Force of Japan. There are more stories about this brown suit.

It was August 1979. I visited National Research Council in Ottawa, Canada, in that suit. (I use the suit for so many years, less than a few times per year.) There I saw Dr. K. W. Geiger, a son of Hans Wilhelm Geiger. -- The German physicist H. W. Geiger (1882—1945) is famous for the development of the Geiger—Müller counter to measure radioactivity. -- K. W. Geiger wore completely the same suit as mine. He said, "This was made in Korea." I said, "Oh, no! I bought this in Japan." Then I checked my suit and found the words, "Made in Korea." I had to say, "Oh, I didn't know this had been made in Korea."

Some years later, I went to Tokyo in that suit. A foreign lady stopped me at the Yaesu entrance hall of the Tokyo station, and asked me a donation or something like that in Japanese. I rejected her request in English. Then she said in English, "You look nice!" (So, I like that suit). However, I didn't change my answer to her. -- An old fox is not easily snared. --

Note added later: Hearing this story, a lady friend of mine said to me, "It can be amusing for a man that another person is in the same suit, but for a woman it would be a serious problem. Women pursue originality in their dresses." Sure!

Monday, September 20, 2004

Talking about Spirits Is Scientific

A blog friend of mine, who nicknamed herself obachan (a Japanese word to mean middle-aged woman), recently wrote on her web page as follows [1]:
[My grandma] strictly made me finish the rice, literally all -- without leaving any single grain in the bowl. According to her, there were gods (or spirits of nature) living in rice, so we should never throw them away.
My wife's and my own mother possibly belonged to the same generation as her grandma, and they also taught us to eat rice to the last grain. Regrettably, however, we did not tell our daughters about the spirits in rice. As a result, they do not share with us that good habit about eating rice. I thought that my wife and I were too scientific to talk about spirits. However, I happened to find the following passage in a book written by F. David Peat [2]:
Indigenous science also teaches that corn is the manifestation of something deeper, of something that transcends the particular individual plant and links all corn together -- in this case spirit.
Then Peat describes that the spirits of corn and Native American people had a form of mutually supportive relationship. Corn would grow in response to a request that it should feed the people; and in turn the people acknowledge the power of the plant and care for it in special ways. This represents indigenous science. It moves slowly. On the other hand, genetic engineering of Western science today is impressive, but, Peat criticizes, scientists don't really understand what they are doing to the general ecology.

Speaking of spirits might have been more scientific. I'm not joking here.
  1. "108 Gods in Salad" in "Obachan's Kitchen & Balcony Garden" (2004).
  2. F. David Peat, "Blackfoot Physics: A Journey into the Native American Universe" (Fourth Estate, London, 1995).
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