Created June 2012
Meditation on the two World Wars…
My mom is of pure Japanese ancestry, but she made a choice when very young to remain an American to make sure that she is not deported to a foreign land she had never set her eyes on and I think she made the only obvious choice she could make for herself as an American. She was baptized as a Christian and, later on, married an Anglo-American, who had been studying Chinese and Japanese, and assimilated to mainstream America, continuing to celebrate the traditional Thanksgiving feast once a year, using the skills she had learned from her immigrant mother who was in the habit of preparing and serving the annual Thanksgiving meal at their modest home in California before moving into a relocation center .
My dad studied Chinese and Japanese at the Defense Language School and later on at a prestigious public university in the U.S. and was subsequently employed overseas by a civil engineering company in Tokyo where he became proficient in Japanese at a very advanced level.
My mom obtained a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the same university and also found employment in Tokyo working for a primarily U.S. civilian-staffed English language newspaper for the U.S. military service members serving overseas. While making sure that her two step-daughters and two daughters learned to appreciate their adopted hometown West of the Pacific, she also made sure that they remained connected to the original homeland across the ocean.
My dad encouraged his four daughters living as American expatriates in Japan to be multicultural by developing an international perspective through language studies— i.e. through acquisition of the Japanese language and a second foreign language, Chinese or a Romance language such as French or Spanish, arranging for travel and overseas study in Continental Europe.
This list reflects the range of topics related to the two World Wars that I encountered while living in Japan, Spain and in France and traveling within Europe and the Continental United States.
Angelus Novus my alter ego :-)
Pink Floyd: The Wall Talked briefly with a teenager with a shaved head while crossing the English Channel in the 80’s on a Dover-Calais ferry and this film reminded me of him.
Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Visited both cities while living in Japan
Oradour-sur-Glane Visited while living in France
Normandy Landings Visited Normandy around June 6th in the late 80’s
Attack on Mers-el-Kebir Overhead an argument between a Frenchman and an Englishman in France..
Maginot Line Watched a program on national television in France
Kritallnacht Heard about it from Ruth Dannenbaum Kane, a German-born Jewish woman who (moved to Texas via Sweden) and also told me about Raoul Wallenberg
Arbeit macht frei Heard about it in Japan from my Japanese tutor, a philosophy student at Waseda University at the time
Armistice of 1918 Visited the train in the forest of Compiegne while living in France
Battle of Aqaba a glimpse of the WWI in Lawrence of Arabia projected on the screen at a cinema in Tokyo
Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria If I’m not mistaken, I read about this in the introductory chapter of A.J.P. Taylor’s The Origins of the Second World War purchased at Brentano’s in Paris, France.Read less