A war about almost nothing

i was seated next to a Japanese violonist at a dinner yesterday. She asked me what my favourite music was and I said that it depends on the mood I’m in. Cello for the Sunday morning, Glenn Gould in the late afternoon and, yes, Brazilian music for dinner. We moved to economy and I wondered what Japan is planning to do to get out of a fifteen year’s crisis. ‘Japan is sick, almost dead’, she replied, which probably explains why she lives in Connecticut. After her eductation at Julliard (where else?) she never moved back. ‘Everything is heavy in Japan, everybody seems to believe that the gods are against us. Desastrous economy, tsunami, leaking nuclear plants, more tsunami and now the Chnes threats…’ Indeed, not easy to cope with. China claims the Senkaku islands in the East China Sea, although they are under Japanese rule. The reason? They found gas under Senkaku, lots of gas. The young and big power versus the former and tired power. Both are in need of something heroic, something to cheer them up. Japan has to stop the seemingly endless row of negative events and will not hand the islands over to the mighty neighbour. China is at the eve of a change of power in the top of the Communist Party and needs to flex its nationalistic muscles to pretend assurance while insecurity is in the lead. A war about almost nothing may be at hand. One (Asian) way to distract the people from daily suffering and doubt is to unite against the enemy, imaginary or real. My Japanese neighbour smiled sadly and agreed: ‘Japanese are masters in suffering as a result of self inflictred injuries…’ What did she mean? That Japan will risk a lost war just to save its face?

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