Hello Friends and Neighbours,
Happy New Year! It is with great hope and optimism that I wish to convey my heartfelt desire for a safer and better year than the last. 2019 was not bad, but it was a bit “stuck”, a bit “lethargic” to some degree. Maybe that is because things are percolating, fermenting, growing inside a cocoon, or some other helpful metaphor..
I hope so. And 2020 has been off to a bit of a rocky start. Australia is on fire. The ecological damage is something that we have not seen in our lifetimes. Compared to the fires in the Amazon, this one is much greater and more deadly in scale. The loss of life, nature, animals, and land is on a humongous scale. That is worrying to say the least, and the slow responses by elected officials is equally so. And then also this year a passenger aircraft, with 67 fellow Canadians aboard was blown out of the sky by an Iranian missile. The flexing of muscles by our American cousins to give some “payback” for the assault on the office furniture of their embassy, and the assassination of a high level Iranian military target, connects the dots to this latest catastrophe. That flight was full of young people, many of them Canadian students on vacation to visit relatives. Regular people with their whole lives ahead of them, dashed in a moment of hate, and revenge. I cannot help but to feel no small amount of outrage at the chain of events, and at the hubris and vanity of American leaders who feel no remorse.
We begin the year with some trepidation. It’s more than slightly disconcerting. And the powers that be trundle onwards oblivious, and blinkered, staggering over the lives and safety of so many for their own selfish profit. The more I think about that, the more I feel that that world, and those attitudes are an anathema to the man I want to be, and the life I want to live, and the work I want to do.
With so much blatant hatred, and racism, and ignorance towards science, I feel that our only way forward is with education, and hard work, and determination to make a better impact on the world around us. I think I am fantastically lucky to live where I do, and have the work that I have. I swim in enormous privilege so I must do something with that for the betterment of others around me who come into this world hobbled by biases against them, disability, poverty, and hopelessness. I have a part to do, so I have to do it.
This little website is part of that. I hope, anyway. There is nothing more powerful to the dissolution of hate and bias than education and experience. Cross-cultural experience are necessary for the humanizing of one another, cooperation, collaboration, alliance building, and constructive progress in a world that needs us to come together to overcome seemingness impossible problems. I grew up in a very tight religious cultural bubble. If I had not walked on the airplane that sent me to the other side of the planet, and just stayed where I was, I think I would have become a very different person.
So it is with continued gratitude and purpose that I want to face the new year, to continue the project of promoting Kagawa prefecture, Shikoku, the Ohenro Pilgrimage, the Setouchi Triennale, and all the cool nooks and crannies that make this part of the world a real “Deep Japan” experience.
Happy New Year!