Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Clemency for the Soul

Standing in the Shadows of Love

Tei Towa - "Risk Some Soul" (f/ Luomo and asg) (mp3)
(purchase here)

According to the CIA, Japan ranks sixth in terms of life expectancy. Other statistics, such as its high literacy rate (99%, both male and female), and fourth-place global ranking in GNP and GDP further support the common Western notion that tudo bom in Japón.

However, a report released in mid-2004 revealed a record 34,427 suicides in 2003, a 7.1% increase from the previous year. To put this in some context for us, " today's Japan you are about 4.5 times more likely to die by your own hand than be killed in a traffic accident. In the UK the same ratio is 1.7 times." According to the CDC, 30,622 people took their lives in the US in 2001.

Japan has its share of ills, especially post-bubble. And yet it still feeds on itself to a degree. The past couple weeks in Japan, the big news on the morning talk shows was of two consecutive (but unrelated) murders of young girls. In the first, a 30-year old Japanese-Peruvian man was arrested and charged with the murder of 7-year old Airi Kinoshita near Hiroshima. About a week-and-a-half after the discovery of Kinoshita's corpse, 7-year old Yuki Yoshida was discovered stabbed to death just outside of Tokyo. Yoshida's murderer(s) remains at large. Yet plenty of horror, fear and speculation abounded...

Returning home, I found a similar ill with regards to the passing of two other souls. Pryor and Williams, kicked to the curb.

How quick we all seem to be to place judgement on life, be it our own or of another.

Towa Tei may seem an unusual commentator for such a hefty load, especially when the subject line gives it up to Mr. E. That said, there is a particular sadness to this lone track that sits in the middle of his newest album, Flash. "Ain't nothing good about me / 'til we meet again." Is a first impression all we are allowed? Would each of us shine so bright in the eyes of Amida, Allah or the Christ on a first date? A little reconsideration, please.


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