Wednesday, March 4, 2009


We're having some rainy days in Japan.   It seems like they've been going on for months, stretching all those weeks and days into a long, foggy, depressing, oppressive blur like the Island of Dreams in C.S. Lewis's Voyage of the Dawn Treader

The rare sunshiny day is cause for all kinds of excitement. 

Unfortunately, people also tend to get giddy and forget basic safety rules. Last Monday was sunny, and at least two unfortunate things happened. There was a car accident in a tunnel, backing up the traffic for kilometers. And then, some poor fisherman fell out of his boat and drowned. 

Naively, I asked, "couldn't he swim?" when I found out about it today.

Fishermen wear these long rubber boots, and if they hit water, the water seeps in, weighing down the boots and suctioning them to the legs. In other words, you've got weights on your feet that are practically glued on. 

"What about lifejackets?"

Here, too, there is a law about wearing lifejackets on water vessels, but here, too, people think of them as a hindrance and go about their business without wearing them.  If the poor man had been wearing a lifejacket, he might very well have gone home for dinner that night.  A diver found his body on Tuesday.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon him; 
may he rest in peace.

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine,
Et lux perpetua luceat eis;
Requiescat in pace.

Nevertheless, I hope that this wretched rain relents soon.  It's cold, and it encourages people to be all out of sorts.  It will be wonderful to feel the sun again.  Just... don't forget your common sense in all the excitement.  

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