News from Japan

Food for Thought @ Miti Miti

I left Japan over three decades ago, and since there was no Facebook back then, I lost contact with all but a few of my friends. Ken and I were in a rowing team in high school, and he told me then that he wanted to be a pilot. It’s common for little boys to have that dream, but to hear It in high school was refreshing. He was worried that he might not be tall enough to qualify as one. Many years after I graduated from college, he called me out of the blue. He had called my parents to find my number in New York. He told me that he became a pilot for Japan Airlines, and that he was flying to New York soon. We had dinner, and he filled me in on our mutual friends. Since then, it became a regular way to get the latest news from Japan.

This time, we went to a Mexican restaurant in Brooklyn near his hotel, because there are no decent Mexican restaurants in Japan. (I predict there will be a Mexican food craze in Japan soon.) So, here are some of what he told me.

Taiwanese brown sugar boba is big in Japan also. That’s not surprising but interesting to note how fast a trend can spread globally today.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is still a big mystery, but he has his own theory. He believes it’s suicide. That is the most widely accepted explanation, but the motive has never been clear, particularly the reason he chose that method. Ken thinks it’s because he wanted to see what his plane was capable of before he died. He said many pilots fantasize about flying an empty passenger plane and going wild on it because they have never done it. I thought that was a unique insight of a pilot. It’s true that the pilot of MH370 was an aviation enthusiast; he had a flight simulator at home.

There is no such concept as “legacy” for college acceptance in Japan. In fact, many major corporations would not allow you to apply for jobs if your parents worked for them. The exact opposite is true here. When something becomes the norm, nobody questions it even if it’s clearly unfair or unjust. Hopefully, soon, there would be a #metoo type of movement where everyone suddenly wakes up and realizes how unfair it is in the US.